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Palm Desert DUI Law Blog

What types of breath test errors can impact a DUI case?

Law enforcement officials typically use blood alcohol tests to determine the blood alcohol concentration, or BAC level, of drivers suspected of driving under the influence. If a driver has a BAC above .08 percent, there is a “per se” legal presumption that the driver was intoxicated behind the wheel.

Breathalyzer tests are one of the most common ways to determine a driver’s BAC level in California. A Breathalyzer test requires the DUI suspect to blow into an instrument which registers the BAC level. Breathalyzer results are accepted in courts as evidence of a driver’s BAC level. However, breath test errors do occur fairly regularly.

In many cases, officers fail to properly administer blood alcohol tests, thereby skewing the results. The testing devices also must be in proper working order when the test is administered. If a Breathalyzer machine is poorly maintained or not calibrated properly, the results cannot be the basis of a presumption of intoxication.

California has its own set of laws in place to address calibration of Breathalyzers. Generally, all states require that a Breathalyzer device is on the list of acceptable devices and that it is regularly checked for accuracy. The person administering the test should be certified and trained in the use of the device and must administer the blood alcohol content tests in accordance with the training. For example, Breathalyzer tests require that the suspect does not eat, vomit, burp, regurgitate or smoke for a certain period of time before the administration of the test. The test must also capture two separate readings within .02 of each other.

If a defense attorney can show that the test was calibrated incorrectly or that the test was not administered according to state laws, the court may find the Breathalyzer results to be inadmissible as evidence. Prosecutors will then have to prove their case through other evidence, such as suspect behavior. Careful scrutiny of breath test errors gives DUI defendants a way to protect their legal rights.

Where does California rank in study on DUI strictness?

Law enforcement officials all across the nation are making an effort to crack down on drunk driving. In 2012, 31 percent of car accidents were caused by drunk driving. While this number is still too high, it is good to know that this number is considerably lower than when states first started making an effort to stop drunk driving in the 1980s. In fact, from 1982 to 2013, drunk driving fatalities dropped 52 percent.A major reason for this decrease has to do with strict DUI penalties that drunk drivers face nowadays. A recent study by WalletHub ranked all 50 states in order from strictest to most lenient when it comes to DUI charges and convictions. The study considered various factors such as criminal penalties and prevention methods. California was ranked number 31 on the list.The potential consequences of a DUI conviction can be severe, from license suspension to possible jail time. In California, merely being arrested for a DUI typically results in an administrative suspension of your license for four months. Your license could be taken away for longer depending on whether you are convicted. Many other states have similar suspension periods. A DUI first offense in California should also typically expect to spend at least two days in jail.Additionally, alcohol assessment and/or treatment is required in 37 states. Almost half of the states require all DUI offenders to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles. These devices prevent driers from starting the car if they have been drinking. These consequences make it clear that a DUI conviction can have a major effect on your future.

Driver arrested for DUI after fatal La Quinta accident

A California DUI conviction can change your life in ways you never expected. Television director and producer, Marty Pasetta, was recently killed in an accident involving an alleged drunk driver. The 82-year-old Pasetta directed numerous award shows and television specials all over the world from 1967 to 1991.The accident occurred in La Quinta, less than 10 minutes from Palm Desert. The driver of the vehicle had stopped his vehicle to drop off Pasetta and another passenger. Once the two passengers had exited the vehicle, the driver attempted to exit the vehicle himself. Tragically, the driver left the car’s transmission engaged, and the car proceeded to crash into the two passengers.Pasetta was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. The other passenger was taken to the hospital with serious injuries. The driver suffered minor injuries and was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. He has been taken to the Rivers Side County jail in Indio.Pasetta is one of 10 people to have been killed in a pedestrian accident in the area this year alone. If you were involved in a drunk driving accident where someone lost a life, you may have serious consequences awaiting you. DUI convictions may result in steep fines, license suspension, alcohol treatment programs and even jail time. It may be in your best interest to seek legal counsel and come up with an effective defense to the charges you face. Facing DUI charges can be unnerving, but with a proper defense in place, you may be able to avoid some of, if not all of, the potential consequences.

What is an ignition interlock device and how can it affect me?

Much of our blog has been dedicated to discussing the penalties you could face if you are convicted of a DUI. While a jail sentence, fines, and license suspension are all very real possibilities, there are other consequences that have far-reaching effects. For example, having a criminal record could seriously tarnish your reputation, making it difficult to get a job or find adequate housing. Another penalty you could face is forced implementation of an ignition interlock device.

An ignition interlock device is a machine that is installed in your vehicle and prevents it from starting without you submitting a breath sample free of alcohol. Any trace of alcohol on your breath will disallow your car from starting. Even as you operate your vehicle, you must submit to periodic breath tests to ensure that you are refraining from driving under the influence.

While a nuisance, an ignition interlock device can also drastically affect your life. The cost of installation could significantly burden you and if you take a prescription medication that utilizes an alcohol base, then you may have to make a difficult decision between taking your medicine and being able to drive your car. In the event that the ignition interlock device fails or you submit a failed breath test, then you may miss work, school or important family events.

Therefore, as you can see, there is a lot at stake when facing a DUI charge. The good news is that you do not have to fight the allegations alone. Instead, a competent defense attorney can help you with your criminal case. With a strong legal ally by your side, you may be able to reach an outcome that is fair and avoids the harshest of penalties.

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