Last month’s blog discussed how marijuana legalization could change DUI stops in California. Field sobriety tests are a method law enforcement may use to determine if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. More can be said about the standardized field sobriety test (SFST) and its weaknesses.
Three consecutive tests, which are sanctioned by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), make up the SFST. These three tests are as follows:
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus. For this test, a police officer requires you to follow an object with your eyes. An officer is looking for two things: an inability to follow the object and eyeball jerking (nystagmus).
- Walk and turn. With this test, officers require to you to take nine paces (heel-to-toe) in a straight line in one direction, and then in the other. A police officer is looking for trouble with balance or an inability to walk in a straight line.
- One-leg stand. This test is what it sounds like. You must raise one foot six-inches off the ground for thirty seconds. An officer is looking for trouble balancing.
There are also non-standardized field sobriety tests. You may have heard of these before. Non-standardized tests include reciting the alphabet or touching your finger to your nose.
Can I Fail a Field Sobriety Test While Sober?
You could fail a field sobriety test if you are sober. Certain medical conditions, such as a panic disorder or a bad back, could make it impossible to complete a field sobriety test. Your clothing, the weather and certain medications could also hurt your performance.
Also keep in mind, police cruiser dashboard cameras will record your attempt to pass field sobriety tests. This evidence may be used against you by the prosecution. These are all risks you should keep in mind before agreeing to take a field sobriety test. If you are arrested, then your decision to take the test could make it more difficult to defend yourself from a DUI charge. You can refuse to submit to the field sobriety tests described in this blog.
You should speak to a criminal defense lawyer if you were arrested for a DUI, regardless of whether you took a field sobriety test. If you or a family member were arrested for a DUI, then Hayward criminal defense lawyer Louis J. Goodman could discuss your situation at no cost during a consultation. You can reach Louis J. Goodman by calling (510) 582-9090 or by using our online contact form.
Being pulled over by the police can be a scary experience. Recent news stories do not help how the public perceives traffic stops. For instance, there was that one recent story in New Jersey where police pulled over a young man and performed a cavity search for marijuana. Most traffic stops are not this eventful. However, there are certain mistakes you should avoid during a traffic stop. Some mistakes during a traffic stop could result in severe consequences.
- Stepping out of the vehicle. Some traffic stop mistakes could put your life in danger. Stepping out of your vehicle is one of those mistakes. Police may believe you are trying to harm them if you exit your vehicle. You should stay in your vehicle and keep your hands on the steering wheel.
- Being argumentative or talkative. As difficult as it might be, try to remain calm and polite. If you are argumentative or disrespectful, then it could escalate the traffic stop into an even more uncomfortable situation. You should never try to explain yourself or engage in a conversation about why you are being pulled over. Let the officer do the talking.
- Performing the standardized field sobriety test. If officers suspect you are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they may ask you to submit to the standardized field sobriety test (SFST). The SFST is a combination of three tests that you could still fail even if you are sober. These tests are also recorded by police dashboard cameras. If you fail, it will be on tape and possibly used against you by the prosecution.
- Submitting to a search. Police can search your vehicle if they have probable cause or a warrant. There are also other limited circumstances where they can conduct a search. Submitting to search could prove to be a very big mistake.
- Running away or resisting arrest. Running from the police at a traffic stop could prove to be a life-ending or life-ruining mistake. You could be looking at felony charges. The same could be true if you resist arrest.
What If I’m Arrested?
If you are arrested during a traffic stop, then it is important to remain silent and ask for an attorney. The prosecution may use whatever you say to the police against you if you are facing criminal charges.
Louis J. Goodman is a Bay Area criminal defense attorney with decades of experience. If you were arrested and charged with a crime, then Louis J. Goodman could explain your rights and possible defense options. You may call our law office for a free consultation. Call (510) 582-9090 or use our online case review form.
Most drivers in California have never been stopped for a DUI, which means that many do not know how to properly interact with the police and protect their legal rights.
However, you could find yourself in a situation where you are stopped by an officer after having a few drinks with your friends. Although you may have done nothing wrong, how you handle the situation could determine whether or not you are arrested and charged with a DUI.
Here are some examples of what to do after getting stopped for a DUI in Alameda County:
Getting pulled over for a DUI is a scary experience. In these situations, your natural tendency may be to become overly aggressive with an officer. However, it is highly recommended that you remain calm and speak respectfully to any law enforcement official.
You should also calmly comply with any legal requests that the officer makes. This includes providing him or her with your license and vehicle registration, as well as stepping out of your vehicle in a non-threatening manner. You do not have to take a standardized field sobriety test.
Do Not Answer Any Unnecessary Questions
All you are legally required to do during a stop is provide the officer with your driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance. If you are asked anything else by an officer, then you have the right to remain silent and request an attorney.
It is important to recognize that officers are not neutral and are looking for probable cause to make an arrest. Their questions are designed to get you to admit to drinking. They want you to provide them with evidence that can be used in court.
Never Submit to a Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) Device Test
Unless you are on probation or underage, then you do not have to submit to a PAS device test. Officers will ask you to submit to this test in the hopes of establishing probable cause for a lawful arrest. They are also looking to collect evidence to use against you at trial.
The only reason to submit to a PAS device test would be if you have had nothing to drink. If this is the case, then the evidence compiled will work in your favor if an officer makes an illegal arrest. However, you should keep in mind that even if you are sober, there are factors that could erroneously trigger a PAS device. Certain medical conditions, including diabetes, can trigger the device to produce an inaccurate reading.
Refuse Any Request for a Field Sobriety Test
A field sobriety test is a physical test that an officer will use to determine if you are intoxicated. This includes things like following an object with your eyes and walking in a straight line.
While these tests are supposed to be administered objectively, any officer committing to a DUI investigation already thinks that you are intoxicated. He or she is looking for the slightest evidence that will allow them to make an arrest. You should always refuse a field sobriety test and ask for legal representation as soon as possible.
Stopped for a DUI? Contact an Alameda County DUI Attorney Today for Assistance
You can schedule a consultation with an attorney at the Law Office of Louis J. Goodman to learn more about how California DUI laws may apply to your situation. If you were stopped for a DUI in Alameda County, then we encourage you to call us at (510)582-9090 or use our online contact form to schedule a consultation.
Many people are aware that getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol is illegal. But you may have taken on the responsibility of being a designated driver and are taking a friend home as a passenger in your vehicle. If your passenger is drinking an alcoholic beverage while you are driving, you may be fined under the Open Container Law.
California’s Open Container Law prohibits the consumption of alcohol in public areas. Public areas are defined by state laws and mandates. This may possibly include the following areas:
- A public sidewalk
- In your parked car
- Front steps or common entryway of an apartment complex
- In a residential neighborhood
- In a parking lot
This law is in place in most states and is reproduced from the federal standards outlined in the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), which was passed by Congress in 1998. This law was created to reduce drunk and disorderly behavior in public spaces and to prevent motor vehicle accidents due to drunk driving.
A driver will be in violation of California’s Open Container Law if the drink is within reaching distance, such as in your cup holder. If you are pulled over while a passenger in your car is drinking, a law enforcement officer can give both you and your passenger a citation for an open container.
Questions About A DUI Case?
If you have questions about your options and legal rights after a DUI arrest, you should contact an attorney. Hayward DUI lawyer Louis J. Goodman has decades of experience practicing criminal defense law. Call (510) 582-9090 or fill out our online form today.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Labor Day Weekend is considered one of the most dangerous periods of the year to be on the road. In past years, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) has announced a Labor Day Maximum Enforcement Period, which meant all available CHP officers were on duty and on high alert for impaired drivers. This maximum enforcement period also meant a zero-tolerance policy for anyone driving impaired. It is expected that the CHP will treat this year in the same way.
The easiest way to prevent a DUI is to not drink and drive. Before your holiday festivities begin, plan transportation in advance and leave your keys at home. If you’re with a group of people, designate a sober driver. Having a plan will keep you from worrying about how to get home after you’ve been drinking, and ultimately could keep you from getting a DUI.
If you do find yourself in a situation where you’re intoxicated and without a ride home, you have options. California-based rideshare services, Lyft and Uber, can be easier alternatives to public transportation. Their mobile app services use GPS to find your nearest driver, and your fare and pick-up time is quoted before you accept the ride. If paying for transportation isn’t feasible, another option is to call a sober friend or family member to pick you up.
If it’s too late, and you or someone you know has been arrested with a DUI in Alameda County, it is important to talk to a DUI attorney about your case. I can help you understand your legal rights and responsibilities. I have decades worth of experience in criminal law. Call me today at (510) 582-9090 to schedule a free consultation. You can also contact me online with questions.
In 1966, the Supreme Court ruling of Miranda vs. Arizona created the “Miranda Warning” or more commonly known as the “Miranda Rights.” Police officials inform accused parties of their Fifth and Sixth amendment rights as part of due process of the law.
Being arrested and not read your Miranda Rights does not automatically result in a dismissal of a criminal case but it may help you in determining what charges will be held against you in court. If an officer doesn’t read you your rights and you say anything, any statements made may be dismissed as evidence during a trial.
What Are The Miranda Rights?
It’s important to know what your rights are as a citizen, particularly when being placed under arrest. The presiding officer should before, during, or after arrest repeat the following:
- You have the right to remain silent.
- If you do say anything, it can be used against you in a court of law.
- You have the right to have a lawyer present during any questioning.
- If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you if you so desire.
It’s commonly suggested that when being put under arrest that you remain silent and wait to contact an attorney for legal advice.
Following the Miranda vs. Arizona ruling, there were three more important cases that ensure citizens to their fifth and sixth amendment rights. The Miranda Warning is complex. If you were not read your rights and feel If you were arrested and charged with a crime, then Louis J. Goodman could explain your rights and possible defense options. You may call our law office for a free consultation. Call (510) 582-9090 or use our online case review form.
As you already know, recreational marijuana was recently legalized in California. Law enforcement agencies have expressed concern that legalization will lead to more instances of impaired driving. However, there is no state law that defines what qualifies as “impaired” for a marijuana DUI.
In California and other states, you must have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or more to be charged with a DUI (over 21 years old). No such threshold exists for marijuana. In addition, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana (THC) can stay in your system for weeks or days. A person could be pulled over while sober but could test positive for marijuana they had smoked days or even weeks ago. Furthermore, no such threshold for marijuana impairment has been determined.
California law enforcement officers are developing new ways to catch people who are under suspicion of driving while high on marijuana. Possible changes, some of which have been implemented, include but are not limited to:
- Increased use of drug recognition experts. These are law enforcement officials who undergo specialized training to recognize drug intoxication. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) recently announced they are hiring additional drug recognition experts. In addition, CHP has launched an independent study to learn more about how marijuana impairs drivers.
- Saliva swab tests. Some California police departments have field-tested advanced saliva swab tests. Officers in San Diego have used the Dräger DrugTest 5000 to detect the presence of up to seven drugs. Like many tests for marijuana, saliva swab tests cannot determine impairment.
- Marijuana breathalyzer. We recently published a blog on the “marijuana breathalyzer”. These devices would function in a similar way to alcohol breathalyzers. However, the devices have only been field tested and are not currently in use.
- Continued use of field sobriety tests. Officers may use the classic three-part, NHTSA-sponsored field sobriety tests. These are the tests where you must walk a certain number of paces heel-to-toe in a straight line, follow an object with your eyes or stand on one leg and count. You are not required by law to take these tests.
- Continued use of blood and urine tests. While not necessarily a change, officers will likely continue to use blood and urine samples in conjunction with other types of tests. However, the officers must have demonstrated probable cause for an arrest to carry out these tests.
Arrested for a Marijuana DUI? Call Our Hayward Marijuana DUI Lawyer
Hayward DUI lawyer Louis J. Goodman has decades of experience practicing criminal defense law. Before establishing his practice, Louis. J Goodman served as a former Deputy District Attorney. If you have questions about your legal rights after a DUI arrest, then you have come to the right place. We charge nothing for an office or phone consultation.