Uh-oh – you went out for a few drinks with some friends and are driving home when you see flashing lights behind you. You pull over and your heart starts beating. The police officer steps up to the car window, says that he smells alcohol on your breath, and asks if you were drinking. You reply that you had a few drinks, he asks you to step out of the car, and it all goes downhill from there.
First the officer asks you to perform a field sobriety test. You oblige because you only had a few drinks, it has been an hour or two since the last one, and you did eat something, too. He then asks if you will take a breath testing field sobriety test, also known as a “preliminary alcohol screening (PAS).” You consent, still not thinking that you are really under the influence, and are shocked when he tells you that you are being arrested for DUI. He says that you failed the tests, but it felt to you like you were doing just fine.
You need to contact our DUI lawyer, Kenneth M. Hallum, as soon possible. He is a Santa Barbara DUI and traffic attorney who focuses exclusively on driving under the influence, traffic defense, and underage DUI offenses. As a former police officer, Ken has a unique perspective that gives his clients a powerful advantage. He knows how anxious drivers can get in the presence of a police authority figure, and he also knows that the police will use this anxiety to their advantage. Drivers are supposed to be advised of their rights and any field sobriety tests must be conducted in a very specific manner to provide meaningful results. Failure to administer the tests correctly could mean that you are labeled as being under the influence, when in fact you really did pass the test.
The Field Sobriety Test
One thing you must understand is that a field sobriety test is not mandatory in California. There is no state law that requires a driver who is suspected of driving under the influence in Santa Barbara to submit to any field sobriety tests. If you agree to be tested, the arresting office may use the results of this test as evidence against you in a DUI trial, even if you think you did okay.
There are a number of different types of field tests which a police officer can use to determine whether a driver is under the influence of alcohol. The officer asks the driver to perform certain activities, such as standing on one leg, or walking and turning, in order to judge whether there is probable cause for an arrest.
Known as Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, the use of these tests is regulated by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA). They must be conducted according to a certain protocol, which all officers might not follow on every occasion. Judging whether a driver has “passed” or “failed” these tests is often subjective, and is based on the officer’s opinion. Two officers observing the same driver might have a different interpretation of the results. The best DUI lawyers in California will tell you that you are within your rights to politely decline to take these tests.
Another area of confusion is the breath testing field sobriety test, also known as a “preliminary alcohol screening (PAS)” test. Most motorists are not aware that this is not the same as the breath test that is given following your arrest. Your driving does not give implied consent for this type of test. The officer must advise you that this is a preliminary alcohol screening test. You have a right to politely refuse to take this preliminary test as well. It is important to try to remain calm during this process so there is no cause to add on additional charges.
A DUI Arrest
Whether or not you take these tests, and despite the fact that you may feel you have passed them if you do, you may still be arrested. This is when you want to have the top DUI lawyers on your side. If you contact the DUI lawyers at the Law Office of Kenneth M. Hallum, we will listen to your side of the story and ask you questions about all facets of the arrest and any sobriety tests you may have taken. Try to remember your state of mind, the officer’s demeanor, and how the instructions were presented to you. Take note of whether you were informed that there was a preliminary breath test. All of these factors can come into play in trying to have the charges dropped entirely, or agreeing to a DUI plea bargain.
Santa Barbara DUI attorney, Kenneth M. Hallum, advises drivers that, “Anyone who is facing a DUI charge needs to understand that he or she is not alone. Our local DUI lawyers understand how the police department works in this area, and we also know how these tests should be administered to obtain reliable results. As a former police officer myself, I know there is a lot of gray area and subjective assessment that goes into the decision to make a DUI arrest.”
About DUI805.com: Information about Santa Barbara DUI attorney, Kenneth M. Hallum, can easily be found at the informative website, DUI805.com. The local DUI lawyers work with clients to understand every facet of a DUI case, from the field sobriety test to the DUI arrest. As some of the top DUI lawyers in Santa Barbara, Hallum and his staff are experienced at dealing with a DUI plea bargain, underage DUI, breath and blood tests. Visit the website at https://www.dui805.com to download a complimentary PDF entitled, “Top 10 Reasons Clients Choose Ken Hallum: Beat Your DUI By Knowing the Facts.” “Like” the Facebook page to receive timely tips and information regarding DUI offenses in Santa Barbara CA. Call 805-892-6769 for a complimentary Santa Barbara DUI Consultation.