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When Innocent Drivers Have Physical DUI Symptoms

Arrested in Orinda? Our Oakland DUI Attorney Can Help.

The city of Orinda, located in Contra Costa County, has a population of 20,000 and was once ranked as the second friendliest town in America. Just east of Berkeley, Orinda is home to a large number of professionals who commute to Walnut Creek, San Francisco, and Oakland, making it a bedroom community. Orinda is an oft-chosen area for hikers due to the number of parks and trails in the area. In 1937, when the Caldecott Tunnel was completed, Orinda residents enjoyed easier access to the West; however, the 12.7 square mile city was not incorporated until 1985.

If you live in the picturesque city of Orinda, you may have stopped off at the Round Up Saloon, located on Mt. Diablo Blvd., in neighboring Lafayette. Or, perhaps you found yourself in McNally’s Irish Pub, a sports bar located on College Avenue in nearby Oakland. Locals and visitors alike enjoy the television sports, outdoor seating and wide selection of beer and mixed drinks. The Triple Rock Brewery & Alehouse might be more to your like, located on Shattuck Avenue in nearby Berkeley. The Triple Rock is well-known for its on-site brewed beers, and friendly atmosphere.

Whether you have stopped into any of these bars to relax after work or to meet friends on the weekend, or whether you have your own favorite “watering hole,” it is a sure bet you did not expect to be stopped on your way home and charged with DUI.

You may have been pulled over by an officer who thought you exhibited signs of impaired driving, or you may have found yourself in the middle of an Orinda DUI checkpoint. No matter how you ended up being charged with DUI, it is important that you take the charges very seriously, and that you find an experienced DUI attorney who takes them equally seriously.

Even for a first time DUI in the state of California, you could face:

  • Extensive fines and fees
  • Up to six months in jail
  • The loss of your license for five months
  • Three to five years’ probation
  • Impoundment of your vehicle
  • Mandatory attendance in an alcohol treatment program
  • The requirement of having an ignition interlock device placed on your vehicle

Innocent Explanations for Physical Signs of Impairment

Unfortunately, an officer’s observations of both your driving and your physical appearance are almost completely subjective.  That is, the officer can assume a certain physical sign means you are driving under the influence when there could be a totally innocent explanation. As an example, officers typically look for an unsteady gait, slurred speech, a flushed face, and red or watery eyes as signs of impairment. 

In fact, fatigue, too much time in the sun, specific illnesses, taking certain prescription medications, a physical injury, and allergies can also explain those same symptoms. In the same vein, you could fumble as you try to get your registration and insurance cards out of your glove box out of sheer nervousness rather than because you are impaired.

Smelling the odor of alcohol is an explanation typically given by police officers as reasonable cause to arrest someone for DUI. However, laboratory studies have shown a police officer’s perception of how strongly a person’s breath smells like alcohol doesn’t correlate to that person’s actual BAC. All an officer can tell from “the odor of alcohol,” is that you had an alcoholic drink, not that you drank so much it impaired your driving ability. In other words, nearly every piece of “evidence” in a DUI case is subjective, subject to multiple interpretations, and certainly open to attack by your DUI attorney.

Attorney Nabiel C. Ahmed refuses to let you receive a DUI conviction over subjective “evidence.” We fight every piece of evidence with a valid and honest explanation of the facts. If you’ve been arrested in Orinda, call the Oakland Law Office of Nabiel C. Ahmed at (510) 907-6600 or submit a short online form.

If you’ve been detained, we offer free consultations in jail or over the phone. Contact us today.

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