I was tested for alcohol with a breathalyzer. The officer said I blew under the legal limit but said I was on drugs which was not true. I gladly went to the hospital to get a blood test to prove this was false. I still went to jail, he said the results wouldn't come back for a few weeks, and he took my license. I was also denied a free phone call. I can't afford a lawyer, what should I be doing to make a good case for myself?
It feels like somewhat of a mistake to take the officer at his word that you blew under .08, since he took your drivers license. If you know that you are not under the influence of prescription or illegal drugs there is nothing else to complicate the case.
If you don't have the money for an attorney, you should still book an APS hearing (look for a number on the pink temporary license, upper right hand corner of paper) to protect your privilege to drive for the immediate future. It will prevent DMV from suspending your license without giving you the results of the blood test and will get you a copy of the reports.
Given the uncertainty of your predicament, you would still be well advised to try to find a local attorney you can afford. Look to AVVO's directory and California DUI Lawyers Association for some phone or e-mail contacts for a few attorneys in your area.
Pretty bizarre case actually.
Took your license, but I don't see that you were given the Pink DS367 Temporary License and Suspension Notice. In case you were not here is were you CYA with a call to a Driver's Safety Office to request a hearing in case this officer screwed up as badly as you describe.
( http://www.dmv.ca.gov/fo/dsolistings.htm )
After that there is not much that you can do... assuming that you were given a court appearance date upon leaving the jail. If not this I guess you are waiting for a letter inviting you to a courthouse party in your honor... but it doesn't sound like that will happen... WAIT A MINUTE.. AG... YOU are here in SLOCO... Hey it's Me... George in SLO! slodulaw.com I hardly ever see anyone here in AVVO.com with questions from SLO.
You already have answers from four fine California lawyers. I am chiming in because I am a lawyer you cannot hire even if you wanted to. If you are indigent (broke) you can have a public defender appointed. You should be talking to a lawyer as soon as possible. You need one.
Often people think that because it isn’t a murder case, a drunk driving case is simple. Nothing could be further from the truth. These cases can be among the most complex a criminal defense lawyer handles. The government is willing to spend an incredible amount of money to convict you though. They will have expert witnesses available for consultation and trial.
That you have been charged or that some contraption says your alcohol level was at a certain level does not mean that you are guilty. It certainly does not mean that you can be proven guilty using competent, valid evidence.
Field sobriety “tests” are designed to give police a reason to arrest. You cannot “pass” them. The police will admit that almost a third of healthy young adults who take these tests without any alcohol will be judged to be “under the influence” – and that assumes they are properly administered!
After even a first drunk driving conviction, you may face employment discrimination. You will certainly be charged higher for insurance. Having such a conviction will also make you a target for drunk driving arrest in future interactions with police. You will automatically become a suspect.
You will want a lawyer who is familiar with field sobriety “tests,” perhaps one who is certified to administer these tests. You will want a lawyer familiar with the weaknesses of the contraptions that are used to report alcohol or drug levels. You want an experienced trial lawyer, used to cross-examining police officers. Police officers are practiced, experienced witnesses.
That is, you want an experienced drunk driving defense lawyer, whether you call the offense DUI, OWI, DWI, OUI, or drugged driving.
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A lot of times people think they can only get a DUI for consumption of alcohol. However, in most states people can get a DUI for drug use and/or prescription use too. Best not to drink and drive, obviously. But, simply showing no alcohol in your system doesn't resolve the issue.
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