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Can Your Blood Be Drawn Against Your Will in a DUI Arrest?

Albany—known as Ocean View until 1909—is a small city in Alameda County, California, with a population of approximately 20,000 residents. Albany is located on the eastern shore of the San Francisco Bay, and borders the city of Berkeley to the south and east. San Pablo Avenue in Albany is commonly used by the Albany police as a DUI checkpoint.

If you are a resident of Albany, you may have spent time at the Club Mallard on San Pablo Avenue, a multilevel hangout which opened in 1945, and provides guests with an eclectic jukebox, an outdoor patio lit by Tiki torches, and a wide variety of beers and mixed drinks. Maybe your tastes lean more toward the Hotsy Totsy Club on San Pablo Avenue with its pressed tin ceiling, the jukebox which plays the great oldies, the beer on tap and the vintage vibe.

At either place—as well as many others—you could, conceivably, end up in the middle of DUI checkpoint on San Pablo Avenue. You could even find yourself being pulled over for a minor infraction, then suddenly find you are under suspicion of driving while impaired. There is simply no way to prepare for being charged with a DUI in Albany.

DUI is an extremely serious offense, with extremely serious consequences.

The very best thing you can do, is to immediately contact an experienced Albany DUI attorney who will defend you aggressively, and who understands that your future could be altered by a DUI conviction.

In these cases, you may be asked to submit to a chemical test. However, if you refuse, can the police take a blood sample by force?

Do You Need to Submit to Chemical Tests?

Although you are not legally obligated to participate in field sobriety tests or to blow into the preliminary alcohol screening device, once you are lawfully arrested for a DUI, you must submit to a breath or blood test at the station.

Should you refuse a chemical test:

  • You will be fined
  • You will be subject to mandatory imprisonment in a county jail if convicted of DUI
  • Your driver’s license will be suspended for one year with no restricted license privileges
  • You will be forced to enroll in a nine-month alcohol education program

It is important to understand that while it is mandatory to submit to a breath or blood test, (and refusal will result in additional penalties), a police officer is not allowed to take you to a hospital and take a blood draw through the use of force without a warrant, or without specific exigent circumstances.

Despite the fact that forcefully taking blood from a person could constitute a violation of their Fourth Amendment rights, forced DUI blood draws were commonplace in the state of California until a fairly recent Supreme Court ruling. This was due to the fact that the percentage of alcohol in the blood begins to diminish shortly after drinking stops, and the body attempts to eliminate the alcohol from the system.

Despite this, the U.S. Supreme Court held that in and of itself, this fact is not considered an exigent circumstance. Some California agencies only forcibly take blood from a DUI suspect if that person is under suspicion of committing a felony DUI and it is not possible to obtain a warrant quickly.

When Does a California DUI Become a Felony?

Your DUI charges could quickly become a felony if:

  • Your DUI results in severe injury or death to another person
  • You have three or more DUI convictions or wet reckless convictions within the prior ten years
  • You have 1 or more prior felony DUI convictions

While all DUI charges are serious, if you suffered a forced blood draw, or your DUI may be classified as a felony, it is even more important that you contact a knowledgeable Albany DUI criminal defense attorney immediately.

Our law firm provides aggressive, proven DUI defense in the East Bay, including Alameda County, Contra Costa County, and more. If you’ve been charged or arrested, we’re the firm you need to call.

Call the Law Office of Nabiel C. Ahmed at (510) 907-6600 in Oakland, CA for a free consultation and to start building a solid defense against these serious charges.

If you are already detained, we are also available for phone consultations and jail interviews.

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