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How Can Someone Be Found Guilty of a Los Angeles DUI if There is no Blood or Breath Test?

  • September 1, 2017

    Despite what most people think to the contrary, a DUI charge will not be dismissed just because there is no blood alcohol concentration test. Many people mistakenly believe this and think that refusing to take a blood alcohol test means that there will be no evidence against them. Unfortunately, this just isn’t the case, and in fact, you will likely be facing additional penalties for your refusal to take the test.

    Anyone who drives a vehicle within the state of California implicitly agrees to comply with any request to submit to a blood alcohol test. Known as the principle of ‘implied consent,’ this law requires you to take either a blood or breath alcohol test at the police station if you’re arrested on suspicion of DUI. While you have the right to refuse to take a field sobriety test without penalty, refusing to take this mandatory blood alcohol test will lead you to be charged with DUI refusal in addition to facing a standard DUI conviction.

    Evidence Used to Achieve a DUI Conviction
    Even if you refuse to submit to a BAC test, there is still plenty of other evidence that can be used against you. For starters, your refusal to take the test can be used to argue that you were already aware of your guilt and this was the reason for your refusal. In addition, the arresting officer’s report will also contain useful evidence that can be used to prove your guilt.

    The officer’s observations and notes about the incident are always viewed favorably by the courts, and the judge will usually view the officer’s report as strong evidence of your intoxication. For instance, the officer will usually note such things as a strong smell of alcohol, slurred speech and other visible signs of impairment. The police report will also include the reason that you were pulled over in the first place, and driving recklessly or swerving erratically can be used as further evidence of your intoxication.

    Although all of this may seem circumstantial, the fact is that this is usually all the evidence that the prosecution needs to achieve a DUI conviction. For instance, let’s say an officer spots you carelessly weaving back and forth and then smells alcohol on your breath when they pull you over and question you. If you admit to having a few drinks, your driving behavior, the smell of alcohol on your breath and your statements will usually be enough to prove that you were legally intoxicated.

    It doesn’t matter that you refused to take a blood alcohol test. Even though there is no blood alcohol reading that the prosecution can use to prove your intoxication, your statements and the arresting officer’s observations will almost always be enough to lead to a conviction.

    The importance of the officer’s observations cannot be overstated. For instance, if a person is pulled over for speeding and the officer suspects that they have been drinking, as long as the person doesn’t admit that they had been drinking and the officer doesn’t smell alcohol on their breath, there is a high chance that they will only be charged for speeding. Even if the driver refuses to take a BAC test at the station, the fact that they weren’t driving erratically and didn’t smell like alcohol means that there likely isn’t sufficient evidence for a DUI conviction. Although the officer’s report might state that they believed the driver was intoxicated, the officer also needs to be able to provide at least some noticeable evidence of this intoxication. In this case, if the driver doesn’t exhibit any obvious signs, there won’t be any evidence to base a case on.

    It is important that you don’t make the mistake that so many others before you have made and simply assume that you can’t be convicted of a DUI just because you refuse to take a BAC test. Instead, it is best that you contact an experienced Los Angeles attorney. A skilled DUI attorney will look through your police report to determine what evidence there is against you and then use this information to determine the best way to proceed with your defense. Fighting against a DUI conviction is tricky, and it is essential that you get the help you need to give yourself a chance of potentially getting the charge reduced or dismissed.

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