Consequences for Driving Under The Influence

If you have been arrested for the crime of DUI, call experienced criminal defense lawyer Max Gorby at (323) 477-2819.

If you are operating a moving vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you are considered to be driving under the influence. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol seriously impairs an individual’s ability to operate the vehicle safely, concentrate on the road, and significantly reduces your good judgement. You are considered intoxicated and too impaired to operate a vehicle when your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is 0.08% or higher. Under California’s zero tolerance policy, persons under the age of 21 may not operate a vehicle if their BAC is higher than 0.01%. If your BAC exceeds the legal limit, you will be arrested and charged with a DUI.

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious crime that society, law enforcement, and the courts do not take lightly because everyone knows (or should know) that driving while intoxicated dramatically increases the chances of causing an accident, injury or death. If you have been charged and you are subsequently convicted of a DUI, you could face harsh punishment including jail time, significant monetary fines, court-ordered probation, suspension of your driver’s license, cancellation of your insurance and huge increased insurance costs for years or decades, community service, loss of your job or career, difficulty obtaining future employment, and a permanent criminal record.
If you have been charged with a DUI in Los Angeles you are facing that long list of punishments and personal expenses that will follow you for years. The best thing you can do for yourself is retain the services of a highly skilled DUI defense attorney. DUI Defense attorney, Max Gorby, has handled hundreds of DUI defense cases and is well-versed in criminal defense law. Max Gorby know the system, the courts, the judges, the DA’s and can help you develop a smart strategy so that you can minimize the cost, pain and anguish that the system has in store for you if you do nothing, plead guilty, or attempt to defend yourself.

In California, driving with a blood alcohol content of .08% or greater is illegal. The police officer must have probable cause that you are driving under the influence. The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. As for a DUI case, the officer cannot randomly stop your vehicle. He must have “specific articulable facts” that a crime is taking place before he initiates a traffic stop as the case of Terry V. Ohio clearly dictates. It seems arbitrary and often unfair to many that probable cause is determined solely by the law enforcement officers in the field. Over the years, there have been many questions and challenges to the validity of police officers being the authorities of “Probable Cause” as it pertains to Drunk Driving, but it has been accepted in both courts and case law. And while that means that we are all stuck with police being the determiners of probable cause, we all must remember that a police officer has to have valid probable cause if he observes any Vehicle Code Violation whether it has to do with alcohol impairment or any other reason for a traffic stop. Probable Cause is a prerequisite element to be found guilty of and charged with a California DUI. It is also the most often-challenged element to many DUI cases. Many cases are tossed out when probable cause is examined closely, followed by the officer’s adherence to procedure, and a host of other issues. A law enforcement officer is allowed to examine an individual for violation of the law related to drunk driving if there is some “acceptable reason” to examine the state of the driver. Such time-tested reasons include traffic violations committed during the operation of the vehicle, vehicle operation that is indicative of being under the influence, or even if the individual was seen leaving an establishment where alcohol is served.

The officer must have a reasonable suspicion that you are driving intoxicated even before he initiates a traffic stop. The officer will likely testify and write in his police report that the probable cause to initiate a traffic stop was a pattern of driving that was consistent with someone who was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In your defense it would be important to highlight the positive elements of your driving. Also, evidence can be introduced at trial to show that the majority of traffic violations are committed by people who are sober. Further, if the officer uses speeding as a reason for the traffic stop, the defense can argue that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), does not recognize speeding as a characteristic of drunk driving. The officer must also have probable cause in order to initiate a DUI investigation. As a DUI progress, each level of the investigation, i.e. the stop, the detention, and ultimately the arrest, must increase in the amount of probable cause. First as the officer is attempting to determine if you were driving under the influence, he will commonly use a standard set of indications. He will speak to you and ask you questions, to determine your fluidity of speech and if he is able to detect alcohol on your breath.

Once a law enforcement officer has puller over a driver for suspicion of driving under the influence in Los Angeles, the officer has received training to look for certain signs of intoxication. The following is a list of what officers look for in order to determine if a person may be under the influence:
▪ Slurred speech
▪ Speaking incoherently
▪ Slow verbal responses
▪ Balance and coordination difficulties (swaying, falling, or leaning)
▪ Smells of alcohol
▪ Does not keep the story straight, gives numerous different answers to questions
▪ Trouble getting out of the motor vehicle
▪ Difficulty with fine motor skills (i.e. handling driver’s license and documentation)
▪ Unaware of the volume of voice (speaking too softly or loudly)
▪ Bloodshot eyes
▪ Flushed face
Odor on the breath is the most immediate symptom, but having that odor does not necessarily mean a driver was under the influence while driving in Los Angeles County. Experienced DUI defense attorney, Max Gorby, can help dispute the charges and evidence. Much of this evidence in subjective and open for dispute.
Once that is determined, he will ask you to perform a variety of field sobriety tests (FST’s).
Although every officer and every police department uses slightly different tests to determine sobriety, there are only three recognized tests that accurately identifies physical impairment according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The only three tests recognized are: 1) Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus or HGN, 2) Walk and Turn, and 3) the one leg stand test.
In the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, the officer will look at the drivers pupils to determine if they involuntarily bounce or jerk when asked to follow a finger or pen. Although most people will display jerking at some point close to the outer edges of the eye, a person who is intoxicated will display this jerking before the eye looks to a 45 degree angle.

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) Sobriety Test: The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test is considered by many law enforcement officers to be the most effective technique to provide evidence of alcohol in a motorist’s system. The normal variation in human physical and cognitive capabilities, and the effects of alcohol tolerance, can result in uncertainties when arrest decisions are made exclusively on the basis of physical and/or cognitive performance tests. These uncertainties have resulted in many DWI suspects being released rather than detained and transported to another location for evidentiary chemical testing. This is because some experienced drinkers can perform physical and cognitive tests acceptably, even with a BAC greater than 0.10 percent. However, experienced drinkers cannot conceal the physiological effects of alcohol from an officer who is skilled in HGN administration, because Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus is an involuntary reaction over which an individual has absolutely no control.
  • Walk and Turn Field Sobriety Test: In a walk and turn field sobriety test in Los Angeles County, the driver is asked to take nine steps touching their heel to toe and imagine or use a straight line, pivot after nine and turn around and return taking nine steps on the way back. The officer will look for missed steps or other problems to indicate intoxication.
  • Standing on One Leg Sobriety Test: The one leg stand field sobriety test will ask the driver to raise a foot six inches off the ground, hold still, count from 1001 to 1030 and look down at the foot. If the officer sees signs of difficulty he will conclude that the individual is intoxicated.
  • Rhomberg Balance Sobriety Test: There are other Field Sobriety Tests that officers use to determine a DUI in Los Angeles County, all of which have no scientific basis and should be strongly disputed in court by experienced LA DUI attorney, Max Gorby. In Los Angeles, the LAPD have been trained and instructed to administer the Rhomberg balance sobriety test. This test will have the driver estimate 30 seconds while keeping their eyes closed and stand still with their head slightly tilted back. Alcohol may have the affect of slowing down a person’s internal clock.
  • Finger to Nose Field Sobriety Test: Another unproven field sobriety test that is used in a DUI investigation in Los Angeles is the finger to nose test. The officer instructs the driver to touch the tip of their nose while keeping the eyes closed and head tilted back. The officer will determine if the driver is touching the tip of the nose or other parts of the nose and other mistakes.
  • Finger Count Sobriety Test: The final test used in Los Angeles County in a DUI investigation with no scientific proof of reliability is the called the finger count test. The officer will instruct the DUI suspect to touch their thumb to the tip of the index finger and counts to one. The driver then touches each of the other finger counting up to four, and then repeating it going backwards.

If, during your initial stop by law enforcement for a DUI in Los Angeles, the officer asked you to perform one of the above mentioned tests, my office has the scientific data to refute the results of these test. These physical tests are proven to be unreliable and experienced DUI attorney Max Gorby, will dispute each and every test in court.


Please contact Attorney Max Gorby at (323) 477-2819 regarding any questions related to California Vehicle Code 23152 (A) and (B), Driving Under The Influence.