When officers stop a driver for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs under the California Vehicle Code §23152, they must cross certain hurdles to rightfully arrest someone. They must have reasonable suspicion to pull someone over and administer an alcohol screening test. Only then,can they lawfully arrest someone.
Similarly, a criminal court must also meet certain elements beyond a reasonable doubt before a driver may be found guilty of a DUI. The person must be 1) drivings2) under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Therefore, a person MUST be proven to have driven under the influence. If it can be shown thatsthe person that was arrested was never driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, then the Prosecutor cannot meet all the required elements.
Does this mean that if you are pulled over by the side of the road when officers arrest you, you cannot be charged with a DUI? Not exactly. It is a little more difficult to prove, but if it can be shown that you were under influence at some point while driving, then you can still be charged with a DUI, even if you were pulled over at the time officers stopped you. The best way to demonstrate thissis through examples.
Let’s first consider Dana. Dana is driving home from a party where she has had several beers. On the freeway, her car starts to give her some trouble and she is forced to pull over on the side of the freeway. While on the side of the freeway, officers stop to check if Dana is ok and smell alcohol on her breath and observe Dana slurring. Officers immediately ask her to submit to an alcohol screening test.
In contrast, David is out one night with his friends. After having a few beers at the bar, David walks to his car to head home. Realizing he has drank more than he thought, he unlocks his car, which is parked in the parking lot of the bar, and crawls into the back seat. David puts the keys away in his pocket and falls asleep. Officers find him sleeping in his car and ask him to step out.
Prosecutors will use facts and circumstances to establish that the driver was, in fact, driving while under the influence. It is difficult to argue thatsDana was not driving because she is pulled over on the freeway. In order for Dana to get onto the freeway and be pulled over on the side, she had to have driven there. Which establishes that at some point she drove while being under the influence. David on the other hand has a stronger case against the Prosecutor. His car is still in the parking lot of the bar. David is in the backseat and was sleeping. The key was in his pocket. It is not likely that he drove there from somewhere else and quickly fell asleep in the backseat. His case has a strong defense that he was not driving at any point.
If the issue of driving is debatable in your Los Angeles DUI case, be sure to consult with a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer as soon as possible. Their professional expertise will help reduce or dismiss your case!