Imagine that you and a few of your friends decide to stop off at a well-known bar on Webster Street—a small shack, really, but steeped in tradition and said to have been a regular hangout of Jack London. You have a couple of beers after a particularly rough workweek, then head home. You have just gone under the freeway onto Broadway—one of the busiest streets in the Bay Area, when you hear a police siren.
When you realize that siren is directed at you, your stomach plummets as you frantically try to remember whether you finished that second beer or not. You wonder whether your week is about to get considerably worse. The Oakland police department tends to be fairly zealous about people driving under the influence—even if you really have not exceeded the legal limits and are fully capable of driving home safely.
What Happens After an Oakland DUI Stop?
Whether you were on Webster Street, Broadway Street, or the eastern portion of I80 where the widened road allows easy DUI stops, you are likely to have a hand-held alcohol device, known as a Preliminary Alcohol Screening device, administered. Since this is considered an “investigation,” rather than an arrest, you will not be read your Miranda rights until suddenly you find yourself locked behind bars, with your license confiscated, wondering how you will deal with getting your car back, not to mention what you will do about your DUI charges. But, let’s stop and rewind for a moment to the Preliminary Alcohol Screening.
Things You Should Know About the Preliminary Alcohol Screening Device
It is important that you know your rights when stopped for suspicion of DUI. While the police are unlikely to tell you this, unless you are under the age of 21, or on probation for a prior DUI, you are not legally required to submit to a PAS test, which is essentially considered a field sobriety test. The accuracy of the PAS devices is questionable; some research indicates a variation of at least 15 percent from actual BAC percentages, meaning one in four individuals will have a BAC reading which is falsely inflated.
If the PAS reading is high, you will likely be arrested, and, once at the station you will be given a choice between a desktop breathalyzer or a blood test—and you may not refuse without consequences. Under the California Vehicle Code, Sections 13353 and 14905, those consequences include a one-year suspension of your license, a mandatory jail enhancement of 48 hours should you be convicted, and a $125 fine.
Breathalyzer Machines May Also Give Inaccurate Results
Unfortunately, the many rules necessary to ensure a valid breathalyzer reading, are not always followed.
Those rules include:
- The device must undergo regular calibration and testing;
- The persons administering the PAS must be properly trained;
- There must be a continuous 15-minute observation period prior to starting the test;
- The suspect must not eat, smoke, burp, throw up or drink anything prior to the test, and
- There must be proper record keeping for each stage of instrument calibration, the arrest and the breath test.
Any deviation in these procedures can result in a falsely high BAC result.
Other factors which can result in a falsely inflated BAC reading include:
- Rising blood alcohol levels—when the alcohol in your system is not fully absorbed when the test is administered;
- The presence in your system of workplace substances such as inhaled acetone from paint;
- Age—the effects of alcohol are increasingly pronounced the older you are;
- Gender—women have lower water content and lower quantities of enzymes in their bodies, therefore can test at a higher BAC after consuming the same quantity of alcohol as a man;
- Body type, including fat and muscle content;
- Emotional state—stress causes the body to divert blood from the stomach to the muscles, slowing the rate of alcohol absorption;
- Medications which react negatively with alcohol;
- Whether food was consumed prior to drinking, and
- The presence of diabetes or some other illnesses.
Where to Turn for Help
If your after-work stress reliever with friends turned into handcuffs and a jail cell, the single best thing you can do is to call experienced Oakland DUI attorney, Nabiel Ahmed, before you answer any questions from the police or speak to anyone else.
DUIs are harshly prosecuted in Oakland, with serious, long-term consequences. As such, you need a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who understands the serious nature of your charges, and will fight for your rights and your future.
Call the Oakland Law Offices of Nabiel C. Ahmed today to set up a free review of your case. Call us 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. Fill out a confidential contact form today.