Los Angeles DUI Police Procedure

DUI defense

For many drivers who are stopped and investigated for driving under the influence, this experience may be their first time interacting with the police and being the subject of an official investigation. DUI is one of the most frequently-charged crimes in Los Angeles County and law enforcement officers throughout the region receive extensive training on investigating and processing DUIs. The procedures used are very important and in some cases major deviations from procedure can have an impact on how the case is treated in court.

Pulled Over By Law Enforcement

The majority of DUI cases start after a driver has been pulled by a law enforcement officer. An officer cannot pull over any driver that he or she suspects may be under the influence. The law requires that an officer have reasonable cause to believe that the driver has violated the law. Typically, the reason for the vehicle stop will be a traffic violation that the officer sees the driver commit. If there was insufficient reasonable or probable cause to stop the driver, the driver can file a motion to suppress in court. If granted, all evidence of the DUI offense would be inadmissible and the prosecutor would likely have to dismiss the case.

Field Sobriety Tests and PAS

After a vehicle has been pulled over, the officer will approach the driver and request to see his or her license and registration. The officer will pay attention to the driver’s demeanor and will note if the driver exhibits symptoms of intoxication such as bloodshot or watery eyes, slurred speech and an odor of alcohol. If the officer notices any of these symptoms, the officer will ask the driver to step out of the vehicle and participate in a series of field sobriety tests designed to measure the driver’s balance, agility and ability to remember and follow instructions. In addition, the officer may ask the driver to provide a breath sample on his or her portable preliminary alcohol sensor (“PAS”) device. For the majority of drivers, the PAS test is not mandatory and the driver can lawfully refuse. The field sobriety tests are not mandatory for any driver.

If the officer concludes that the driver is under the influence of alcohol, he or she will be arrested and transported to the police station. Many drivers will note that they are not read the Miranda warning heard in movies and television shows when they are arrested or any time thereafter. Miranda warnings typically only apply to post-arrest interrogations; and these are rarely conducted in standard DUI cases. As a result, the failure to read the Miranda warning will not be fatal to most DUI cases.

The driver will be given the option of completing either the breath or blood test. The officer must inform the driver that they are required to comply with chemical testing and failure to test will result in a license suspension. If the driver chooses the blood test, he or she will be taken to the hospital where a medical professional will conduct the test.

At the time of the arrest, the driver will have his or her driver’s license taken away and will be given notice of an impending license suspension that would start 30 days later. The driver is usually jailed for the night and released the next day on his or her own recognizance. Some drivers will remain in custody until they can appear in court or post bond.

If you have been arrested for DUI, it is crucial that you meet with a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer immediately. As a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience, Attorney Michael Kraut is highly skilled at fighting DUI cases on behalf of clients.

For more information about Los Angeles DUI and police procedure, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1480, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

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