This is a misconception that many people have when it comes to DUI's in Los Angeles. They think if they weren't drunk — like stumbling around drunk — they're not a DUI. But that's not the test. The test is whether you can safely operate a motor vehicle. It takes hand/eye coordination to operate a motor vehicle, and you could be an unsafe driver and not be drunk.
What's the definition of drunk. That's not an easy definition to come up with, and a lot of people think they might not be drunk when they've had a significant amount of alcohol, yet they can't safely operate a motor vehicle.
So, the test that the California Department of Motor Vehicles and the authorities have come up with relating to checking whether or not you're safe to operate a motor vehicle is numerous. First, they're going to look at your driving. If you're driving around recklessly and nearly running over pedestrians, then you're not safe to operate a motor vehicle. So, that's test number one – how's your driving?
Can You Pass Field Sobriety Tests?
Test number two is when they contact you, do you smell like alcohol? Are you slurring your speech? Are your eyes bloodshot and watery? When you get out of the car, do you have an unsteady walk? Are you staggering? Can you walk in a straight line? Can you pass their test? Can you answer their questions about where you've been — whether you've been drinking, how much you've been drinking?
Can you answer their questions about where you're going? Then they've got you doing other field sobriety tests that you might not be able to do sober — counting the alphabet backward — all sorts of different things to try and see where your mind is at and whether you can safely operate a motor vehicle.
The field sobriety tests are supposed to be designed to determine whether or not you can safely operate a motor vehicle. So, the answer to whether or not you're going to get out of the DMV and criminal case because you weren't drunk is, you don't have to be drunk to get a DUI.
You don't have to be drunk to lose your driver's license; you have to be a .08 or greater. You don't have to be drunk to receive a criminal conviction for a DUI in Los Angeles.
How The DMV Will Attempt To Prove You Were DUI
There are three ways they can try to get you. Number one is that you refuse to take the test. Then, you make it easy for them. The second way is if you have a .08, then it's presumed that you're a DUI, and the final form is that you have any alcohol in your system, and they believe they can prove that you can't safely operate a motor vehicle.
We've already talked about the tests and observations they utilize to prove that. So, this whole concept of “drunk” really doesn't have anything to do with it.
Those who are drunk and are driving are probably blowing a .20 or greater and are looking at jail time. If they get in an accident and kill somebody, they're looking at a second-degree murder charge.
If they seriously hurt somebody, they're looking at a great bodily injury allegation. So, the drunk people are the ones that are probably causing the most significant problems as far as public safety, because they usually get in accidents.
You Don't Have To Be Drunk To Get Charged With DUI
So, you don't have to be drunk to get a DUI. Your blood alcohol level has to be .08 or greater. If you've got a case and you're concerned about it — and you should be — get an attorney. I have you come in. We sit down. We go over everything.
I'll eventually get the police report, and we'll go over that as well, and then we'll get our strategy together with the goal in mind of trying to bring you the best result possible. If we can win the case, we will put pieces of the puzzle in place to do that.
If we can't win the case because the prosecutors have the evidence, they need to prove the case; then we're going to do damage control and resolve this matter in the best way possible.