It is illegal to operate a vehicle while intoxicated by any drug, whether legally prescribed or recreational. If law enforcement suspects you of drug intoxication, a blood or urine sample may be taken, or you could be arrested based on what an officer believes indicates drug intoxicated driving.
What Is an “A Count DUI?”
You can be charged with DUI if you exhibit the signs of intoxication, even when your BAC (blood alcohol concentration) does not register over the legal limit of .08 percent. If a law enforcement officer claims you were driving unsafely, erratically, or reports you exhibited the signs of intoxication due to slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, or failing to perform the field sobriety tests, you could be arrested and charged. You may be suspected of drug intoxication, rather than alcohol.
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In an “A count” DUI, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) may not automatically suspend your license as they will if a breathalyzer test registers your BAC at .08 or higher. The officer issuing your citation is required by law to notify the DMV within five days of your arrest. If you are charged with an A count DUI, this is not a legal requirement. Under a Vehicle Code 23152(a) arrest, the DMV will take your license only after being notified by a certified court record that you were convicted of a DUI offense.
What to Expect in Court?
In court, the prosecution will allege that you were unable to operate a motor vehicle with the ordinary caution of a sober person, and that the drugs, alcohol, or combination impaired your ability to drive a motor vehicle safely. “Impairment to an appreciable degree” means the prosecution must present evidence regarding your driving behavior to prove your conduct was not how a sober person would operate a vehicle under similar circumstances. The prosecution may argue that your performance in the field sobriety tests (FSTs) was so poor that they indicate you were in a condition that made you unable to drive in a safe manner.
The arresting officer may have written in their report that you had slurred speech; an unsteady gait; red, bloodshot, or watery eyes; and failed the field sobriety tests. In these cases, it is critical that your DUI defense attorney subpoenas any video recordings of the incident. It has been discovered in many cases that there is strong evidence refuting the officer’s assertion that you had “slurred speech.”
A review of the arrest booking photo may be enough to challenge the allegation that you had bloodshot and watery eyes. Your lawyer can present video evidence such as a dashcam or a MVARS to contradict the officer’s assertions that you were unsteady on your feet. These are critically important discovery issues. Your DUI defense lawyer must go through the evidence with a fine-toothed comb to identify any facts that could benefit your defense – and they often exist.
The Skills of Your DUI Drugs Attorney Matter
Your lawyer should have a thorough knowledge about how field sobriety testing is required to be administered by law enforcement. The arresting officer will document “drunk driving cues” as outlined in a publication from the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHTSA). Your lawyer needs to be aware of how to interpret these guidelines. A talented and experienced DUI lawyer will be able identify faulty police work in documenting field sobriety test “cues.” Maybe the arresting officer indicates in his or her report that you failed the field sobriety tests, however, upon closer examination maybe you did not fail.
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Challenging Blood and Urine Test Evidence
Another important piece of evidence is a retest of your blood or urine sample, and to hire an independent expert to examine the scientific evidence of your case. The State expert may have a biased interpretation of your blood test results and it is important to hire another expert to review the results, as these tests are a critical piece of the evidence against you.
Why You Need an Attorney
You have the right to an attorney and should exercise this right and retain the services of an experienced DUI drugs defense lawyer. At Scarfe Law Firm, we have over 10 years of experience defending people accused of DUI drugs, and we have a high success rate defending DUI cases. We are open, straightforward, and results focused.
Call us today at (916) 252-1609 for a free 20-minute consultation.