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Preliminary Alcohol Screening in Aliso Viejo

If an officer stops you due to signs of impaired driving and suspects that you may be driving under the influence, the officer must find probable cause (a reason to make the arrest), in order to arrest you.

Usually, an officer will ask a driver to do a series field sobriety tests before deciding whether to make the arrest or not. The field sobriety test usually includes 2 dexterity tests and a horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test.

Sometimes, the officer may also require you to take the Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) test. The PAS test is what’s commonly known as a breathalyzer test and is used to determine whether there is probable cause for the arrest. A test result above 0.08% for drivers without a commercial drivers license who are over the age of 21 will likely lead to an arrest. Drivers under 21 can be arrested for a BrAC of 0.01% or above. Drivers with commercial drivers licenses can be arrested for a BAC over 0.04%

PAS tests are usually used to determine whether further more reliable tests are required to make the DUI arrest. Other tests that you may be asked to take include:

  • Breath Analysis test
  • Blood Test
  • Urine Test or
  • Mechanical Malfunction/Human Error test

It is within your right to give blood in lieu of a breathalyzer test. If you choose to give blood, you will be arrested and taken to a police station so the police can obtain the blood sample. Blood tests are more reliable as evidence in court, and generally are used in cases where the driver refuses to blow into the breathalyzer, or are close to the legal BAC limit. For example, during PAS a driver might blow a 0.07, the officer can still arrest the driver, impound the car, and take the driver to the station in order to obtain a more reliable and accurate blood sample. Depending on your circumstance, it may be advisable to refuse the PAS and go to the station.

If you are pulled over and assert your 5th amendment right to remain silent, an officer could arrest you and bypass all PAS procedures.

PAS Tests and Consent

Generally, unless there is a warrant for your arrest, you can decline to take a field sobriety test or a PAS test. However, if the officer manages to get a warrant after your refusal, you can be legally forced to take the test, in which case the police will draw a blood sample. Refusing to give the blood sample is highly discouraged, as it will lead to additional charges like resisting arrest.

If after refusal to take the test and if probable cause is found to arrest you for DUI, you will very likely face harsher penalties including fines and immediate suspension of your driver license.

In Aliso Viejo, as in the rest of California, implied consent laws call for licensed drivers to submit breath or blood tests only after a lawful arrest. To make sure you were lawfully arrested, contact the attorneys at Johnson Criminal Law Group who will fully evaluate your PAS results and fully defend your DUI arrest. Call Now!

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