15-Minute Waiting Period Before Chemical Testing

Reliable DUI Defense from a Team of Bakersfield DUI Lawyers

Did you know that police officers are required to wait and observe you for 15 minutes before making you undergo any form of chemical testing after you have been arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI)? If you answered “no”, you are certainly not alone. This is by no means a well-known rule. If an officer fails to obey this 15 minute waiting requirement, the validity of everything else regarding your DUI arrest could be called into question.

Do you believe you were not given a 15-minute waiting period before you had to take a chemical test? You might have grounds to challenge your charges outright with our help. Contact the Bakersfield DUI attorneys at Campbell Whitten today to learn what we can do for you in this difficult time.

Why the 15-Minute Waiting Period is So Important

Breathalyzers “determine” a blood alcohol content (BAC) level readout from sample sizes that can be as small and insignificant as a millionth of an ounce. Due to the sensitivity of these devices, simple and seemingly-innocuous behaviors can actually skew the results and cause them to report a BAC far higher than reality.

Minor actions that could cause major interference with a chemical test include:

  • Smoking
  • Eating
  • Burping
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Drinking any liquid – alcoholic or not

By waiting 15 minutes and carefully observing you the whole time, the arresting officer is supposed to verify that you did not do anything that could have inadvertently tampered with the results. They also want to make certain that no mouth alcohol – remnants of the beverage you drank still swishing around your tongue and between your teeth – contaminates the breathalyzer. If they check-off on their arrest report that they did watch you uninterrupted for 15 minutes when they really did not, the test could be deemed unreliable and the officer's honesty can be called into question.

What is a Preliminary Alcohol Screening Test?

When the highway patrol officer requests that you blow into a small, handheld breath-testing unit before you are formally placed under arrest, they are actually trying to get you to take a preliminary alcohol-screening (PAS) test. These little devices are notorious for being inaccurate; therefore, they are not considered an actual “chemical test” but act as a different form of field sobriety test (FST). Like all field sobriety tests, the PAS test is an optional test (unless you are under 21 or on DUI probation). Thus, the PAS test should be refused under all circumstances. If the arresting officer did not inform you of your right to refuse to take the PAS test or treated it like it was a mandatory chemical test, it could indicate a serious, exploitable flaw.

This brings up an interesting point – one that our firm knows how to use to your advantage. Implied consent laws in California allow the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to immediately suspend your license if you refuse to take any chemical tests after being arrested for DUI. The DMV will not be able to suspend your license for a refusal however, unless it can be proven that the officer correctly advised you of certain consequences you would suffer if you refused the test.

Come Out Swinging With Our Team in Your Corner

When we say that you need to fight for your rights after you have been arrested for a DUI in California, we mean it. The aggressive tactics and creative team approach that our Bakersfield DUI attorneys utilize can build a powerful, effective case that upholds your rights and treats you fairly.

People have come to rely on us for their DUI cases because we:

  • Approach each case together – you are retaining an entire team of attorneys
  • Have handled thousands of DUI and criminal defense cases
  • Use creative, cutting edge, and unique strategies for every case we take on

The fight for your freedom can start today – contact our firm now!