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Chemical & Field Sobriety Tests

If a police officer stops you for a legal reason(speeding, broken tail light, etc), and suspects a possible DUI after making contact, the officer will start a DUI investigation. There are two purposes of this investigation: the first is to determine whether you are in fact driving illegally, the second is to build evidence proving your inebriation. The DUI arrest is so clouded in rumors and misinformation, that it takes an experienced DUI lawyer to fully understand the nuances of the investigation.

When stopped for a DUI, do I have to answer the officer’s questions

The simple answer is no. You must cooperate with the officer. However, you are not required to answer any questions about how much you have had to drink, eat, or sleep, or any other questions other than providing the information contained on your driver’s license.

Am I required to take any F.S.T.s, like the “one-leg stand” or “walk & turn” test?

You are NOT required to perform any field sobriety tests. While it is possible that you may perform well enough that the officer will not arrest you, it is highly unlikely. The officer is having you perform these tests so that he can gather evidence to be used in court to demonstrate that you are impaired.Suspended License DUI

What is the difference between a P.A.S. and a chemical test:

The officer may also request you take a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test before you are arrested. This test is also voluntary; however, this is very easily confused with the chemical test that is mandatory if you are arrested.

  • The voluntary PAS test is administered BEFORE an arrest, and is tested with a breathalyzer.
  • The mandatory chemical BAC test is administered AFTER an arrest, and is tested with either a breath or blood sample (or in some instances with a urine sample).

It is this mandatory chemical test that carries a one year license suspension for refusing to cooperate with law enforcement. Furthermore, submitting to a PAS breath test before you’re arrested, does not fulfill the requirement for the mandatory chemical test after arrest. With intricacies such as these, the confusion surrounding a DUI arrest quickly becomes apparent.

Whether or not a chemical BAC test will help or hurt your case is very fact specific. If you stopped drinking minutes before the police stopped you it could help with a “rising blood alcohol” level defense. But if it has been some time since your last drink, this test could prove harmful to your case. It takes a knowledgeable DUI lawyer to know whether your chemical test readings can be a help or a hindrance to your Californian DUI case.

What if I refuse to take a Breath test or blood test?

If you are arrested for DUI the law requires you to submit to, and complete, either a breath or blood test to measure the alcohol content of your blood. A urine test is no longer an option unless the officer suspects that you may also be under the influence of drugs.

Breathalyzer Test Administered During a DUI StopIf you refuse to complete a breath or blood test you may still be prosecuted for DUI and your license will be suspended. In addition to the punishments for a DUI, if you “refuse” to submit to a breath or blood test after you are arrested, your punishments will be more severe.

There are specific procedures officers must follow in order for your license to be suspended for a chemical test refusal. For example; the police must clearly explain to you, the consequences of refusing a chemical test. If the police are alleging that you refused a chemical test it is crucial that you immediately consult with an experienced DUI attorney. I offer free consultations in person or over the phone, call me today 714-695-1500.


If you or anyone you know has been arrested for DUI, you should contact a DUI Lawyer in Orange County as soon as possible. Call the Law Offices of Chad Maddox for a free consultation, (714) 695-1500.