Maximum Sentence Ordered
A 68 year old man from San Jose, CA who pleaded no contest to drunk driving and vehicular manslaughter charges has received a 12 year sentence behind bars, the maximum he could have received for the charges filed.
According to news reports, Ali Farsad drove the wrong way down eastbound Highway 152 when his car, a 2002 Ford Explorer, crashed head on at 75 miles per hour into a Ford F-150, which was carrying three occupants. Two of the occupants were killed, one at the scene and the other after being airlifted to an area hospital. The third occupant of the vehicle received major injuries.
General Rights of DUI Suspects
Because of the fact that Ali Farsad’s actions resulted in the deaths of two innocent people, his experience with his DUI would have been much different than someone who was simply arrested at a checkpoint or as the result of traffic stop. As a general rule, however, anyone arrested in California on suspicion of DUI, no matter the circumstances surrounding the case, is allowed the right to remain silent, the right to legal representation, and the right not to incriminate him or herself.
Implied consent laws state that anyone who is licensed to operate a motor vehicle in California has already consented to chemical testing of blood, breath or urine if ever suspected by police of driving under the influence. Although it may result in further criminal charges and the automatic loss of driving privileges, refusing to submit to chemical testing is technically possible, but not generally advised. However, in a case like Farsad’s where others have been killed or severely injured, the police can seek a warrant from a judge (which can be arranged in a matter of minutes, in most jurisdictions) to retrieve a sample (usually blood) by force.
Because of the consequences of denying a chemical test in California, it is generally better to submit to a chemical test while continuing to exercise all other rights, particularly the right to remain silent. Instead of answering questions, California DUI suspects are encouraged to refuse to answer any questions by police and to request the presence of an attorney.
An attorney can review the allegations made by police and can advise the suspect on his or her best legal options. Plus, since a sample of blood has been secured, most DUI defense attorneys will have access to professional resources which would allow them to have the blood sample independently tested so that its reliability as evidence could be challenged as part of the accused’s defense.
A Sobriety Test is Not a Chemical Test
A chemical test is a quantitative test that uses numbers to determine, or quantify, the amount of alcohol in a person’s system. Anyone found with an alcohol content of .08% or greater is considered in violation of California’s DUI laws. Sobriety tests are not quantitative, in that they produce no accurate result.
Tests that require the suspect to touch a finger to the nose or to walk a line back and forth may prove that the person has terrible balance, but cannot actually determine the amount of alcohol in a person’s system. Sobriety tests, which are usually conducted on the roadside, and which include portable breath tests, are not required to be taken by law. It is only chemical tests of either blood, breath, or urine which are required by California’s implied consent laws.