Drunk Driving Tests
A key part of our defense representation is the challenging of all tests used by law enforcement to determine whether a driver is under the influence. There are two key types of tests to consider:
- Field Sobriety Tests
- Chemical Tests
Field sobriety tests are used to determine whether a driver's mental and/or physical abilities are impaired by alcohol or a controlled substance. Chemical tests—usually either a breathalyzer test or blood test—are used to determine whether a driver has a BAC of 0.08% or greater.
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Field Sobriety Tests
Field sobriety tests take place before drunk driving arrests. These are preliminary tests that law enforcement officers can ask a person to submit to if they have been lawfully pulled over in a traffic stop or at a legal DUI checkpoint. There are four basic types of field sobriety tests:
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, in which the officer will track a suspect's eye movements
- One-Leg Stand test requires a suspect to stand on one leg without excessive wobbling
- Walk-and-Turn test requires a suspect to walk in a straight line, turn around, and walk back
- Finally, the Preliminary Alcohol Screening Device (PAS) is a portable breath test machine
Chemical tests can only be required after a lawful arrest.
There are three types of chemical tests that can measure blood alcohol concentration (BAC):
These tests are either administered by licensed law enforcement officials or by other licensed professionals. For a standard DUI stop, an officer will typically choose a breath test. Blood and urine tests are more common in DUIs involving drugs or extreme DUI cases.
The Role of Toxicologists in DUI Cases
Defending a DUI requires an understanding of both law and science. At Gold & Witham, we've developed a close working relationship with an experienced toxicologist, Henry S. Greenberg, to help refute blood or breath test evidence in our drunk driving cases.
- In breath test cases, it is important to obtain the maintenance and calibration history of the breath machine and to check on the operator's qualifications and the procedures followed. This information should be reviewed by a toxicologist experienced in looking for problems associated with the machine.
- In blood test cases, it is important to obtain a portion of the sample for re-analysis by a toxicologist to check on accuracy, levels of preservative, and bacterial growth.
In addition, it is important for the toxicologist to review information from the defendant concerning the amount of alcohol consumed, the type of alcohol consumed, when it was consumed, and to compare this information with the other evidence in the case.
Work with an Experienced Los Angeles DUI Lawyer
When you work with Gold & Witham, you can count on our experience and resources. We can challenge DUI evidence from every angle, looking at the manner in which your breath or blood test was administered or even challenging an alleged breath test refusal. We can also handle cases that involve tests administered at or following a sobriety checkpoint or DUI roadblock.
Because we understand the ins and outs of drunk driving testing procedures, we can recognize deviations from standard procedure, mistakes by law enforcement, or other ways that an arresting officer may have "cut corners" in an attempt to make an arrest. Make no mistake: Your attorney's knowledge and experience may have a significant impact on the outcome of your case. It may be the smallest of details that turns your case in your favor.
To get started with your defense today,
please do not hesitate to contact our DUI law firm.