Whenever a law enforcement officer chooses to take shortcuts when administering
breath tests, this can prove to be quite harmful for the prosecution's case at
trial. California law requires that breath samples be collected only after
a person has been watched continuously for at least 15 minutes prior to
the collection of the breath sample, during which time the person must
not have ingested any additional alcohol or other beverages, vomited,
eaten anything, or smoked.
However, the meaning of the requirement that the subject be continuously
observed for at least 15 minutes is not completely clear. Nonetheless,
an expert for the defense will testify at trial that for a
DUI, continuous observation means just that—the person must be watched
continuously for 15 minutes prior to being given the test in order to
prevent mouth and stomach alcohol from tainting the results.
Keep in mind, though, that police officers typically include the time that
is spent on route to the police station or jail, where the breathalyzer
is located, as part of the observation period.
Thus, it will be up to the jury to determine whether or not this type of
conduct meets the requirements of California's law.
Accordingly, it will be useful for your Orange County DUI attorney, as
part of the cross-examination of the officer, to ask him or her whether
or not he or she is aware of why a defendant must be watched for 15 minutes
prior to administering a
. The law enforcement officer must be fully aware of the reasons why a
15-minute continuous observation period is a crucial part of having a
valid test before his or her understanding of the meaning of the requirement
will have any credibility.
DUI cases can quite often be very difficult to negotiate favorable plea
bargains for or in at trial; however, having a seasoned and knowledgeable
criminal defense lawyer in Orange County may make a huge difference in
whether or not you end up with a favorable decision. Please call The Law
Office of Barney B. Gibbs for a