Safety regulators for the federal government are calling for a drastic change to current DUI policies. They propose that the legal limit for driving with alcohol in the system be reduced from .08% blood alcohol content (BAC) to .05%. If the plan is adopted and California reduces the legal limit from .08% to .05%, California drivers will have to be more careful about the amount of alcohol they consume before getting behind the wheel.
How BAC is Determined for a DUI
The amount of alcohol in a person’s system can be determined in three primary ways, by testing a sample of the person’s blood, breath, or urine. While suspects in California DUI cases are usually allowed to select which test is administered, experts agree that blood tests provide the most accurate readings compared to breath or urine tests. Ensuring that an accurate reading is obtained will be important to the suspect’s DUI defense because it will affect how the suspect’s DUI attorney will proceed with the suspect’s defense.
Samples are always collected by a trained professional. In the case of blood and urine, the sample is sent off for analysis that can take up to a few days, depending on how busy the specific testing lab happens to be. In the case of a breath sample, the results are almost instantaneous.
Collection of a Sample
Generally, the DUI suspect has a choice of the type of sample that is collected for testing, but the unavailability of a particular test may limit the DUI suspect’s options. While the sample is being collected, the DUI suspect has no right to legal counsel. The law allows the collection of blood, breath, or urine samples away from legal counsel because time is usually of the essence when it comes to getting a “good” sample. Despite the fact that they are not guaranteed the presence of legal counsel during the collection of a sample, individuals suspected of DUI should not abandon all rights altogether, like the right to remain silent or to speak with an attorney before answering questions. This means that nothing needs to or should be said before, during, or after the collection of a sample.
The Right to Refuse Chemical Testing
Because of California’s implied consent laws, a person generally can’t refuse to submit to a test of blood, breath, or urine without potentially facing separate legal charges and without facing the almost certain the loss of driving privileges. Before the sample is collected, a police officer or investigator will advise the suspect of the purpose of collecting a sample and will ask the suspect if he or she consents to providing a sample. If the test is refused a first time, then the officer or investigator will read the consequences of a test refusal and ask for consent again. If refused a second time, the police can ask a judge for permission to extract a sample by force, which might happen if a person is suspected of driving under the influence and causing an injury to or the death of another person.