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DUI Investigations: A Concise Overview of the Different Sobriety and Blood Alcohol Tests in 2022

June 26, 2022

different types of sobriety and blood alcohol tests used during DUI investigations including FSTs breathalyzer and blood draws

DUI Investigations: The Different Sobriety and Blood Alcohol Tests

DUI investigations in California can be complex, and the different sobriety and blood alcohol tests that police administer can be confusing.

In this blog post, we will discuss the different types of sobriety and blood alcohol tests used during DUI investigations. We will also explain each test and how it is used to determine whether or not a driver is impaired.

If you have been arrested for DUI in California, it is important to understand these tests and what they mean for your case.

Quick Recap: What is a DUI?

Driving under the influence, or drunk driving, also known as a DUI, is a severe criminal offense in California. You can be charged with a DUI for driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both.

If you are convicted of DUI, you could face jail time, fines, and the loss of your driver’s license. DUI charges can also have a lasting impact on your life, making it difficult to get a job or rent an apartment.

DUI investigations can be complex and confusing. If you have been arrested for DUI, it is crucial to understand the different types of sobriety and blood alcohol tests that may have been administered.

An experienced DUI attorney can explain what to expect during your DUI case.

What is a DUI Investigation?

DUI investigations in California are conducted by police officers who suspect that a driver may be impaired. The officer must have reasonable suspicion in order to conduct a DUI investigation.

DUI investigations can be initiated for a number of reasons, including if a driver is exhibiting signs of impairment, if a driver is involved in an accident, or if a driver is pulled over for a traffic violation.

During a DUI investigation, officers will typically administer a series of sobriety and/ or blood alcohol tests to the driver. These tests are designed to determine whether or not a driver is impaired.

If the officer has probable cause to believe that the driver is driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both in violation of Vehicle Code 23152, they will make an arrest.

What are the Different Types of Sobriety Tests?

There are a number of different sobriety tests that officers can administer during a DUI Investigation.

Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs)

The first type of sobriety test is the field sobriety test (FST). This test is usually administered at the scene of a DUI stop. The officer will ask the driver to perform a series of physical and mental tasks, such as walking in a straight line or counting backward.

The officer looks for signs of impairment, such as unsteadiness, inability to follow instructions, or poor task performance.

Unfortunately, the officers oftentimes never take notes and never record the FSTs on their department-issued body-worn cameras or dash cameras.

Accuracy of Field Sobriety Tests

Field sobriety tests are not always accurate. Factors such as weather, lighting, and the surface on which the test is conducted can all affect a driver’s performance.

Other facts such as age, medical conditions, and language barriers could play a role in the results. Additionally, many people have difficulty performing these tasks even when they are not impaired.

Breathalyzer Test

The second type of sobriety test is the breathalyzer test. This test is usually administered at the police station after a DUI arrest.

The driver will blow into a machine that measures their blood alcohol content (BAC). In California, the legal limit is .08%. If a driver’s BAC is above this level, they will be charged with DUI.

Accuracy of Breathalyzer Tests

Breathalyzer tests are not always accurate. This outcome is because several factors can affect the accuracy of the test.

These factors include the type of machine used, how well the machine is calibrated, how old the machine is, and whether or not the driver has any medical conditions that can affect their BAC.

Blood Test

The third type of sobriety test is the blood test. This test is usually administered at the police department or at a hospital after a DUI arrest.

A nurse will draw blood from the driver and send it to a lab for analysis. The lab will determine the driver’s BAC based on the amount of alcohol in their blood.

Accuracy of Blood Tests

Blood tests are generally more accurate than breathalyzer tests, but there are still some factors that can affect the accuracy of the results.

These include how well the blood was drawn, how long it took for the blood to be analyzed, where the blood was stored, and whether or not the driver has any medical conditions that can affect their BAC.

What Should I Do If I Get a DUI Charge in California

If you or a loved one is DUI charges or other criminal charges in court, you need the criminal defense lawyers at ALL Trial Lawyers by your side. The attorneys at ALL Trial Lawyers are trial attorneys with years of experience.

They know the law and are not afraid to take your case to trial.

In addition, they have a strong reputation among judges and prosecutors throughout Southern California, which has delivered tremendous victories for their clients.

Our ultimate goal is to provide the best results that can be achieved in your case— whether by way of outright dismissal, a favorable plea bargain deal, or an acquittal of the charges at trial.

With ALL Trial Lawyers by your side, you can rest assured that the criminal team will be giving you their all.

Call (866) 811-4255 right now for your free consultation.

We have an office located near you. We have experience fighting cases in Orange County, Los Angeles County, San Bernardino County, Riverside County, and San Diego County.

If you have been accused or charged with DUI,  you must speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you navigate the legal system and protect your rights.

Contact Us Today

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