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Los Angeles DUI Police Procedure

  • May 27, 2017

    You’re driving along and you see the flashing lights in your rear view mirror. It might be your first time being under investigation for anything. Your drunk driving investigation and arrest might be a completely foreign experience to you. In most cases, people who face drunk driving arrests don’t have frequent contact with law enforcement, and they’re not sure what to expect.

    DUI is one of the most common types of police investigations in Los Angeles County. It’s not uncommon for a person charged with drunk driving to have no prior criminal history. Law enforcement officers go through extensive training before they head out to the streets to conduct drunk driving investigations. There are very specific procedures that they have to follow when they conduct this type of investigation.

    First, law enforcement can only stop your vehicle if they have a lawful reason to do so. In the United States, you have the freedom to go about your business unless law enforcement has reasonable suspicion to believe that a crime might be underway. That means, they have to see something illegal or something that might be a sign of something illegal in order to lawfully stop your vehicle.

    In most cases, law enforcement sees you commit a traffic infraction. If they see you speed, fail to signal, run a red light or fail to use your beams in the dark, they can stop your vehicle to investigate. From there, if they smell intoxicants or if you’re slurring your words, they can proceed to conduct a drunk driving investigation. Alternatively, if law enforcement sees you weaving in and out of traffic or if they see your vehicle changing speeds erratically, they can stop you and investigate for drunk driving.

    If law enforcement doesn’t have a legal suspicion to stop your vehicle, your Los Angeles DUI lawyers can ask the court to throw out the evidence against you. If the court agrees, this usually results in complete dismissal of your case. The goal behind this rule is to make sure that the police don’t purposefully violate the constitutional rights of citizens.

    When law enforcement investigates a drunk driving offense, they have to conduct the investigation in a certain way. They can ask you to perform field sobriety tests. When they do this, there are specific tests that they have to give you in a certain way. These are the walk and turn, the one leg stand and the horizontal gaze nystagmus. Even these tests have specific techniques. If the officer doesn’t follow the techniques, the result might be invalid.

    After field sobriety tests, law enforcement might decide to arrest you for drunk driving. In that case, you’re placed in handcuffs and taken to the police station. Most of the time, you don’t receive Miranda warnings in drunk driving cases, but you should understand that you have a right to refuse to answer police questions. When they ask you to do field sobriety tests and chemical tests, you should cooperate. However, you don’t have to answer where you’re going or how much you’ve had to drink.

    The law enforcement officer should read you your chemical test rights. These rights inform you that you have to take a chemical test or you’ll receive a license suspension. This license suspension occurs whether or not you’re guilty of drunk driving. You can choose either a breath or a blood test.

    Law enforcement also typically immediately takes your driver’s license away. You’re placed in jail for the night. You can expect release the next day, or you wait in jail until you can appear before a judge.

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