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California DUI defense lawyerWhile there are a few exceptions to the rule, officers cannot typically stop a driver unless they have reasonable cause to suspect wrongdoing (that includes traffic violations). However, once a driver has been stopped, the officer may then search for any additional signs of a potential crime. More specifically, they look for signs of intoxication, such as slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, or balance issues. If flagged for any one of the alleged “tell-tale signs” of intoxication, the driver may then be subjected to a field sobriety test. Learn more about them, and how you can fight a DUI charge, with help from the following information. (Note: you are not required to engage in field sobriety testing.)

“Standardized” Field Sobriety Tests

Before the late 1970s, law enforcement lacked a consistent method to detect intoxication among drivers. Instead, they were forced to rely on their own judgment and a variety of tests with unknown accuracy rates. Then, in 1977, the NHTSA initiated a study of the various FSTs being used. Their hope was that a reliable and “scientific” method would emerge. Enter today’s version of the Standardized Field Sobriety Test – a battery of tests that officers routinely use to determine if a driver is intoxicated. These include the:

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drugged driving, Santa Cruz DUI defense lawyerWith medical marijuana programs becoming increasingly common around the country and decriminalization efforts underway in many states, there has been much discussion about those who drive under the influence of drugs and how to handle such cases. While some states have proposed—and even implemented—quantifiable standards for traces of certain drugs in a driver’s system, others like California currently rely on a more subjective standard of impairment. Recently proposed legislation seeks to change that standard somewhat, but the measure has been met with a fair degree of skepticism.

Detecting the Presence of Illegal Drugs

Senate Bill 1462 was introduced by California Senator Bob Huff, R-San Dimas, and would allow law enforcement officers to conduct an oral swab on a person suspected of drugged driving. The test would be permitted based on probable cause after a driver has already failed field sobriety tests. The swabs are designed to detect the presence of marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, and prescription pain medications, but do not provide information about the amount or concentration of the substance. Senator Huff has acknowledged as much, saying that the swabs are not meant to replace blood testing, but that “oral swabs are the only way to quickly and accurately test for the presence of six of the most common drugs of abuse.”

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DUI, pulled over, Santa Cruz DUI lawyerYou are out for a night of celebrations. You got a big promotion at work and your friends have taken you out for a night on the town to celebrate. After several locations and innumerable drinks later–who knows how many, you had a designated driver–it comes time for everyone to go home. Yet, when you find your driver, he has been drinking all night too. He appears to be worse off than you are. You decide to be the hero and take everyone home yourself.  After a few miles, you see dreaded police lights in your rearview mirror. You are about to get pulled over with a high probability that it is DUI related. What do you do?

During the Traffic Stop

By the time the officer has brought you to a stop, a phone call has already been made to "call in" the stop. This lets the dispatcher know that the officer is busy, a vehicle description, and the reason for the stop. Typically, a cover officer will be dispatched to the scene for the safety and the security of the officer, but also a witness to all events. Although this is not a requirement, more and more police officers are using dash or body cams in their vehicles or on their person today. This can either help or hurt a case, so be aware that one may be recording your every move.

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News reports frequently print stories about arrests of people accused of driving under the influence in California. The media accounts often relay police suspicions that led to a traffic stop, field sobriety tests and other common allegations found in police accounts--the media serves a role in publishing important information.

A California DUI suspect is often hauled down to the jail for processing in the media accounts, and frequently the court of public opinion kicks in after a story is published.

Our system of justice includes checks and balances to protect constitutional rights, including due process concepts such as the presumption of innocence. Criminal defense lawyers act to challenge the government to help protect statutory and constitutional rights--protecting the integrity of the justice system. Criminal charges are properly dealt with in a court of law, rather than in the court of public opinion.

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Law enforcement in California set up a number of DUI checkpoints over the Memorial Day holiday. Police say three people were arrested for DUI at a checkpoint that was set up over a four hour period Monday night in Salinas.

Police reportedly stopped a total of 652 vehicles during the checkpoint operation. Seven people were subjected to field sobriety tests, with three drivers arrested on suspicion of DUI. Law enforcement agencies set up a number of DUI checkpoints all over Monterey County and Santa Cruz County throughout the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

The DUI checkpoints often result in a variety of charges related to alleged motor vehicle code violations. During the Salinas DUI checkpoint operation, a 21-year-old man was stopped for alleged traffic violations. Police say the man has previously been deported twice. Law enforcement says the man has a felony record. Police say they contacted Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and placed the 21-year-old on an immigration hold.

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A 21-year-old Victorville man allegedly was speeding in a large SUV Tuesday morning around 9 a.m. Witnesses claim that the young man attempted to pass a Toyota that was traveling in the same direction. Witnesses say the 21-year-old crossed into the center lane of the roadway to make the pass.

A Mitsubishi Outlander was traveling in the opposite direction on the same road. Witnesses say the 21-year-old avoided hitting the Mitsubishi head-on. The SUV then rolled over and crashed into the fence of an elementary school. After a short investigation the 21-year-old was arrested on suspicion of violating California DUI law.

The 21-year-old reportedly insisted to a San Bernardino deputy that it was Sunday and not Tuesday. Law enforcement claims that the man was acting confused and belligerent after the crash.

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