Al Michaels DUI

Photo Credit: Pruneau, Flickr.

Al Michaels, the legendary sports broadcaster, has been formally charged with DUI by the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office for allegedly driving under the influence on the evening of April 20th in Santa Monica, CA.  According to reports, Michaels was stopped at a DUI checkpoint and registered a breath alcohol content of .08%, California’s limit for driving with alcohol in the system.

A Serious Charge

DUI charges are no joke, and they need to be dealt with promptly and with the help of legal professionals.  While every case is very fact specific, anyone convicted of DUI charges faces the loss of driving privileges, hefty fines, and several years in confinement.  If convicted, Al Michaels faces up to a year in jail.  The amount of jail time and/or fines that a person faces will depend largely on the severity of the circumstances surrounding a case.  Since Michaels didn’t hurt anybody and since he was not seen driving recklessly or doing anything else illegal, his maximum punishment is relatively low.

If Ever Pulled Over

Anyone pulled over by police and advised that they are suspected of DUI will no doubt feel scared and intimidated.  What they need to remember is that the law works to preserve a person’s rights and gives them options when they face a criminal charge like driving under the influence.  For starters, a person actually advised that they are suspected of DUI should not answer any questions regarding the charge.  Police will record the answers to these questions and will no doubt include them in the official police report of the incident.

Roadside Tests Never Required

Along with responses to police questions, DUI suspects are never required to complete roadside sobriety tests.  This includes breath tests administered by portable breathalyzer.  The science behind these tests is largely inconsistent, and asking a person to submit to any kind of test on the side of the road is no substantive way to determine a person’s alcohol level.

Implied Consent

When a person signs for a driver’s license, that person consents to submit to alcohol testing if ever suspected of driving under the influence, and failure to submit to a test can result in the automatic loss of driving privileges and certain other charges.  This is known as “implied consent,” because drivers imply that they will consent to an alcohol test by receiving a driver’s license.  These tests are administered in a professional setting, not by the side of the road, and are typically administered by somebody specially trained in collecting these types of samples.  The three options available for testing are usually blood, breath, and urine, with the choice of which test to take typically up to the suspect.  Availability of tests may preclude a suspect from making a particular choice, but professionals agree that suspects should submit to a blood test.  A blood alcohol test is the most accurate type of test a person can take, and the taking of a sample will allow the person’s legal counsel to have the sample independently tested.