Chemical Testing

Sacramento Attorneys Assisting Drivers Charged with DUI

If you take a chemical test, and your blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 or higher, you are considered to be under the influence for the purposes of DUI charges. However, you should not assume that a conviction is inevitable just because chemical testing came back with a particular result. At Travis G. Black & Associates, our Sacramento DUI lawyers are familiar with chemical tests and appropriate ways to challenge their outcomes when people have been charged with drunk driving.

Understanding Chemical Testing Requirements

California has an “implied consent” law that provides that you have implicitly agreed to submit to a chemical test of your blood, breath, or urine if you are lawfully arrested by a police officer with probable cause to think that you have been driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you refuse to take the test, your license may be suspended for one year. You may also be fined, lose your license, and go to jail if you are eventually convicted of a DUI. Your refusal to take the test may be used by the prosecution to show that you knew that you were intoxicated, and that is why you refused to take the test.

The test is supposed to be taken at the time of the arrest, and the police officer is required to give you a choice between taking a blood test or a breath test. Only if neither of these is available do you need to take a urine test. There are some exceptions in that if you take anticoagulants for a heart condition, or you have hemophilia, you do not need to take a blood test.

In some cases, you may fight charges that are based on a refusal to take a chemical test. For example, you may argue that the arrest was unlawful or that the officer did not provide clear advice about the consequences of refusing chemical testing.

Sometimes police officers also ask to take a preliminary breath test, which is like a field sobriety test, except after you are pulled over when you are not under arrest. You may refuse this preliminary test unless you are underage or you are on probation for a prior drunk driving conviction. The outcome of a preliminary breath test will help the police officer decide whether there is probable cause to believe that you are under the influence.

Police and lab technicians must follow numerous rules when taking and evaluating chemical tests. For example, one regulation requires the police to watch you for 15 minutes before administering a DUI breath test because it takes 15-20 minutes for alcohol to leave your mouth. Sometimes officers are not properly trained, and it may be possible to challenge the chemical test results on the ground that procedures were not followed.

Moreover, certain test results may be falsely elevated due to medical or bodily conditions. For example, acid reflux, GERD, heartburn, high-protein diets, and burping may result in falsely high chemical tests. Our firm will look at all of the possible angles to determine whether chemical tests were improperly administered. The State must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, and injecting doubt into the testing procedures may be enough in some cases to lead to a dismissal or a reduction in the charges.

Protect Your Rights by Retaining a Sacramento Lawyer

Our principal, Travis G. Black, is a former police officer who utilizes his insights into law enforcement to defend people charged with drunk driving. The penalties for a DUI may be harsh. If you are concerned about the outcome of chemical testing in your case, you should consult our Sacramento attorneys. We provide experienced legal representation to people charged with DUI from our Folsom office. To obtain a free consultation with a drunk driving lawyer, contact us online or call Travis G. Black & Associates at 916-962-2896.