DUI and Diabetes Breath and Blood Defenses


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DUI and Diabetes Breath and Blood Defenses

DUI and Diabetes Breath and Blood Defenses

It is well known, and has been for some time, that DUI and Diabetes Breath and Blood Defenses exist.  The “diabetes defense”, however, does depend highly on the facts. First, which sample are you using? Is it Blood or Breath?  That does make a difference. Then if Breath, what type of instrument were you, or your client tested on?   The effect of diabetes is different between IR and Fuel Cell instruments, each of which are used in breath machine testing in DUI cases.


Diabetes is a disease of the sugar processing in the body. The pancreas produces an enzyme called insulin that regulates how blood sugar gets into the body cells. In diabetics, this regulatory effect is compromised, typically by the pancreas producing too little insulin, which then has to be externally supplied, either orally or by injection (or increasingly by external pump). Diabetics can get into two types of medical emergencies, one in which the blood sugar is too low, and one in which the blood sugar is too high. Either of these can alter the level of consciousness and impair driving. Both can be life threatening, but the danger in the low blood sugar condition is more imminent.

When a diabetic can’t get enough sugar into the cells, the cells fall back on a different type of metabolism to get energy. This alternate process is also used in the Atkins style of high protein, really low carbohydrate diets, because it burns fat. This altered metabolism produces ketones, among them acetone (commonly found in nail polish remover). This process can also cause the blood pH to drop, making the blood more acidic. Hence the condition is called keto-acidosis. When this occurs, some of the acetone will be converted to isopropanol (rubbing alcohol). With nail polish remover and rubbing alcohol in their blood stream, these people tend to be fairly ill.


Properly run, a headspace Gas Chromatograph (GC) analysis of blood should be able to separate acetone and isopropanol from ethanol. Demonstrating this is the purpose of the separation matrix (the sample that contains about 5 substances along with ethanol). To be completely sure there is no other interfering substances, the blood should be run on a dual column GC.

People with high blood sugar are more prone to yeast infections, so there is always the danger of fermentation in a blood sample, and because of the higher blood sugar, the amount of ethanol that can be generated is greater. Fermentation often leaves other substances in the blood from side reactions that are markers that fermentation occurred. So extra peaks in a chromatogram is a danger sign, although there are other ways that a chromatogram can have extra peaks, so their presence is not diagnostic of fermentation. A GC cannot tell ethanol from consumption from ethanol from fermentation.


Infrared (IR)

Both Acetone and Isopropanol will absorb infrared light in the same regions as ethanol, but in slightly different amounts. Modern breath testing devices are designed to detect the presence of these other substances by using the ratio of other wavelengths from the main ethanol measuring wavelength. Hence the IR systems typically have a channel around 3.38, 3.49, and 3.80. The problem is that while it is fairly easy to detect these interfering substances when they are there by themselves, it is harder to differentiate when they are there with ethanol. Different instruments have different sensitivities to these substances based on the exact choice of filter frequencies and bandwidth of the filters. Each instrument needs to have this detection system checked and validated with various mixtures of ethanol, acetone, and isopropanol to show that they are detected and not added to the ethanol result.


Fuel cell based testers are fairly immune to acetone, because acetone does not react with the catalyst in the fuel cell. The fuel cell will read isopropanol, and register an ethanol reading. Fuel cells cannot tell the difference between alcohols. There is some talk that Draeger has figured out a way to detect the presence of interfering substances based the rate of reaction in the fuel cell, that can flag an interferant. That also needs to be validated with ethanol mixtures. Keep in mind that acetone and isopropanol have different partition coefficients from ethanol, so a reading on an ethanol calibrated breath tester from one of these substances does not convert into the blood level.

Some instruments have both IR and Fuel cell detection, and if an interfering substance is present, the difference between the IR and Fuel Cell reading should indicate it. Again, the system needs to be validated using the amounts of ethanol, acetone and isopropanol that could be found in living subjects. Validation applies to the individual instrument, and not just the brand and model. The settings for these filters and ratios have to be calibrated just like the ethanol reading.

Generally, an expert cannot testify that a particular instrument IS subject to interference from acetone or isopropanol, only that the potential exists. It is up to the lab, who has access to the instrument, to demonstrate that it is not subject to that interference, because it has been specifically checked and validated with various combinations of ethanol, acetone, and isopropanol.

See The Champion, 35(6): 54-55, 63 (2011).  Or contact us or call us at (877) 353-0221 with any questions for an Orange County DUI Attorney.

Orange County DUI Checkpoints March 25-27, 2016

DUI checkpoint in Irvine, California, and in Buena Park, California , Friday, March 25th, 2016, until 2am and 3am respectively.

The Irvine DUI checkpoint is located on Culver Drive, at Irvine Boulevard (that location is near the Northpark Gated Community, just north of the 5 freeway). It is being run by the Irvine Police Department, and is designed to screen people for Irvine DUI arrests.

The Buena Park DUI Checkpoint is one of a series of Orange County DUI checkpoints, but is located on La Palma between Stanton and Dale, in front of the Buena Park Mall.

For those interested in Los Angeles DUI news, there is also a LA DUI checkpoint in the City of Whittier, at Washington Blvd. near Whittier Blvd., in front of the Hospital in Whittier, designed to catch Whittier DUI drivers.

More will likely be coming for Easter on Saturday and Sunday, and the Santa Ana police have announced a stop on cruising in their city. The SAPD will be closing some lanes and parts of Bristol, Edinger Boulevard, and Main Street all night on Easter, March 27th, 2016.

For information on why DUI checkpoints are not effective in stopping drunk driving, and are about the money much more than DUI safety, see our detailed article on the subject, “Why DUI Checkpoints Make No Sense“.

The DUI checkpoints in Orange County mentioned here are all funded by grants from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, and with the support of MADD and other agencies.  Impound fees also are split between the police agencies and the various impound and tow lots involved, and officer overtime is the main funding for the DUI checkpoints in Orange County and in surrounding counties, as it is all over California.

Contact us. Feel free to call our law firm at (877) 568=2977 or use the contact the firm page to reach us anytime.

Court Sting Operation Nets Three Citations

Court Sting Operation Nets Three Citations

This past Monday, March 14, 2016, in what is a troubling trend from law enforcement, deputies from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department conducted an undercover ‘Court Sting’ operation at Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach, and that Court Sting Operation Nets Three Citations.

Orange County Sheriff’s Department Deputies staked out offenders whose licenses where suspended, or revoked, and also drivers who were driving without a license after being told of their license suspension or who had never been issued a driver’s license. Thirteen offenders were followed by deputies from courtrooms to their vehicles to ensure that they were not driving. While some offenders complied with the law and had other means of transportation, three individuals in court proceeded to get behind the wheel and drove away from the court house, and were immediately stopped and arrested near the courthouse by waiting deputies.

Among those stopped for driving while their license was suspended or driving without a license were Aaron Felix Norton (02-15-89), Gregorio Martinez Perez (09-16-73), and Amanda Danielle Ament (05-20-86).

The offenders received misdemeanor traffic citations for either driving while their license was suspended or driving without a license.  All three vehicles were impounded for thirty days, which means money for police agencies, who share the impound income with the impound lots.  A misdemeanor case also means that those involved can face additional jail time, longer driver license suspensions, along with other financial repercussions.

The OC Sheriff’s Department Court Sting Stakeout Operations, is part of the Orange County DUI enforcement measures, to spend the grant funds of grants from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Our Law Firm is located across from the Harbor Justice Center.  If you have questions about Orange County DUI matters, contact us to set up an appointment, or call us at (877) 942-3090.

Do you have to submit to a field Breathalyzer if on probation for DUI?

Is it mandatory to Submit to a field Breathalyzer on DUI probation?

If you had one DUI, and pled guilty or no contest to that DUI, then you were likely placed on DUI probation.

Probation of at least three years is mandatory under the law in California for DUI convictions, and judges must place you on probation, the only other option being to find you in violation of probation immediately and then imposing punishment for the probation violation and ending or terminating probation.

Under the law, you most often see search and seizure conditions for DUI.  The language might also state that you must “submit to a chemical test if arrested on suspicion of DUI.” It’s a mandatory condition for DUI probationers under California vehicle code section VC 23600(b)(3).

The language in a plea bargain or probation form might also state that you must “submit to random chemical tests”, which could include a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test before your arrest.  The consequences for not doing so could include being charged with an additional violation of probation, which is a Penal Code section 1203.2 violation, or being charged with a separate violation of Vehicle Code 23154(a), which makes it a crime to not submit to a chemical test upon request while on probation.

The statutory term, which states to “submit [only] if lawfully arrested [i.e., no refusals], is also listed as one of the drug term conditions on the plea forms (or Tahl forms) used in many counties.

In many says, it invites purely arbitrary test demands. The only one that attorneys should be advising their clients matches the law is the statutory term that if arrested will submit, and most attorneys, including our Los Angeles DUI Lawyers and our Orange County DUI Lawyers, advise clients to NOT agree or consent with any other language.

Don’t be part of the “everybody” that accepts terms beyond those mandated by statute. With the DMV, you can make that argument on the pre-arrest PAS test but failure to submit to it will result in a two to three year hard suspension. As for the post arrest testing, there’s a Constitutional Fourth Amendment waiver (which is the portion of the constitution that protects against unlawful searches and seizures) based on the probation term condition.

If the condition is imposed on a broader scope then that is the probation condition, though as it relates to the Fourth Amendment, one can argue that the PAS is not a chemical test. However, if submission to testing is a condition of probation then that makes the need for a warrant unnecessary, which is what law enforcement prefers.

Should I get a Lawyer for a DUI?

Should I get a lawyer for a DUI?

Why can’t I represent myself?

Should I get a Lawyer for a DUI?

Should you get a lawyer for a DUI? Can you represent yourself?  You certainly have a right to represent yourself.  The Constitution guarantees that right.  But remember the old legal saying that goes, “He who represents himself has a fool for a client.”


DUIs involve scientific evidence and many technical and specialized defenses.  That includes the DUI defenses related to alcohol or drug testing, as well as the legal defenses (and constitutional defenses) unique to DUI.

There is a lot of California law specialized to DUI cases, in court, and at the DMV. An Orange County DUI charge requires an expert Orange County DUI lawyer.  And, considering the costs of a DUI, and considering that the effects of a DUI can last for years, there is a lot at risk if your DUI case is not handled properly.

If you are going to seriously defend a DUI charge, you are going to need an experienced DUI attorney.

The best way to find a qualified Orange County DUI attorney is to ask questions and do your research.  Ask the attorney questions, and research their qualifications.

Should I get a Lawyer for a DUI? If you can, yes.  A DUI attorney in Orange County good enough for your case must be someone who you have confidence in, who can communicate with you, can communicate with the court and understands the complex issues presented in a drunk driving case.  Having handled thousands of DUI cases in Orange County over 23 years, and having been rated by clients as the best Orange County DUI attorney, we are a top choice to represent you in your Orange County DUI case.

Contact us today. 

Contact us for a consultation, or call (877) 942-3090, anytime.  We are here to help you.


What Do I Do After I Get a DUI?

What Do I Do After I Get a DUI?

The DUI Industry

How Did I Get Into This?

Using prescription, or other drugs, or drinking, and driving, requires two components – the consumption, and the act of driving.  But being caught usually means that you had an accident, or a run in with the law for some traffic or other violation – no headlights, weaving, speeding, etc.

In the big picture, you and only you can analyze for yourself whether or not you need the assistance of others for any problems.  The big issue for most people is whether or not there is an issue that repeately has caused you problems or taken priority over other areas of your life, including your career, your family, or your education.  You can take an online quiz to see if you may have a problem at this link, or take the “Am I an Alcoholic Quiz” at this link.

How are you Feeling About Your DUI?

You are probably ashamed.  Or mad at the situation, at the police, at others, or at yourself.  You might be feeling hopeless.  You likely are scared of punishment, or what might happen to you, your career, or your license.

All of these feelings are common, and are normal.  You’re also doing the right thing, by researching your situation, gathering information, and coming up with a plan to see what you can do and how to get through this.  That’s how you found this page, and you are to be commended for that.

The Most Common Fears About DUI

  • Am I going to end up with a criminal record from my DUI?
  • Am I going to do jail time from my DUI?
  • Am I going to lose my license, or my driving privileges, from my DUI?
  • Are there going to be long term effects from getting arrested for a DUI, that I will need to deal with, for years to come?

What do I do first after my DUI arrest?

I recommend that you do the following when you are released after being arrested for a DUI, in the following order:

  1. Gather all your paperwork;
  2. Find and take steps to obtain your vehicle;
  3. Write down everything you can remember about the 6 hours before your DUI, and what happened when you were stopped, and all facts, details, and timing, about what testing you were given, including field sobriety tests, breath, blood, or urine tests.
  4. Catch up on sleep if needed.
  5. Take a deep breath.  The real work is about to begin, and you will want to be calm and collected and strategic about this.
  6. Contact our firm, or an attorney of your choice, to have the DMV hearing scheduled.  We will do this for you free of charge, and will do so via fax, and follow up by phone call, so that it can be proven that the request was made within 10 days.
  7. If you choose not to have an attorney help you, that’s fine, but make sure you contact the DMV within 10 days of your arrest.  The DMV is very strict on this time limit, so do not delay.  You can call the DMV hearing office for Orange County by calling (714) 703-2511.  Request a copy of all police reports and documents to be used at the hearing, and request a stay on suspension (this stops any driver’s license suspension and extends your temporary license).
  8. Conduct attorney interviews and have them review the police report with you once sent from the DMV to you.
  9. Begin to gather character reference letters for use in your case, and other mitigation evidence – charity work, a resume or school transcript, volunteer work, special certifications or skills, or proof of alcohol or rehab program work.
  10. Make sure your attorney, or you, attend your court dates, and your DMV hearing.  Many people have found themselves in bigger trouble by missing an important date.

What Do I Need to Do With the DMV?

As mentioned above, the DMV requires that you request a hearing from the DMV within 10 days of your arrest to prevent your license from an automatic suspension.

If your DUI arrest occurred in any one of the cities that are in Orange County, your hearing will be in one place – The DMV Hearing Office in Orange.  The phone number is (714) 703-2511.

In Riverside and San Bernardino, your DMV hearing will be requested from the San Bernardino DMV hearing office.  San Diego has one office also, and Los Angeles is split up in to several regions, depending on where your arrest was.

We recommend not delaying with this hearing request, as the DMV can be difficult to reach via phone, closes early, and they are very strict about the ten day time limit.

Requesting a DMV hearing can only help you.  Even if you are convinced that you will suffer a suspension and don’t want to fight it, the DMV hearing helps you by giving you a copy of your police report before your court date, and gives you the chance to cross examine your police officer before a court or jury trial, and conduct investigation through a subpoena or other means for purpose of defending the action at the DMV.  You can always cancel a DMV hearing once set, any time.

What Do I Need to Do With the Court?

Alleged offenders must attend a court hearing, or have an attorney appear for them, about 4-5 weeks after their arrest and release.  If your paperwork has a court date on it, you must show up, or an attorney must appear for you, on your behalf.

Having a BAC above a .08% is against the law in all 50 states.  In California, you can be charged with anything that puts you under the influence and unable to drive safely (CVC 23152(a)), or being above a .08%, even if you were not under the influence, CVC 23152(b).

Additional Punishment.

Certain factors can allow the prosecutor to ask for additional penalties.  Those include:

  • Having an accident, with property damage or injury to another; 
  • Having a prior DUI;
  • Being on probation for a DUI or any other offense;
  • Having a child in the car with you (anyone under age 18 is a minor, under the law);
  • Having a blood alcohol level at or above double the legal limit (0.16%);
  • Allegations that you were speeding while DUI (at or above 30 mph above the speed limit while intoxicated);
  • Refusing an evidentiary breath or blood test.

Court Fines and Fees

For a first time DUI, the minimum fees are $390 plus assessments, and other fees, and total anywhere from $1500 to $2100 minimum, depending in the court.  You are allowed to make payments or do community service to pay off this amount.

Will I Get Jail Time?

The maximum punishment for a first time DUI is over $3000 in fines, and fees, and six months in jail.  First time offenders usually don’t get any jail, however, in most cases.

Ignition Interlock Device.

In Los Angeles County, and certain Northern California Counties, installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) is mandatory upon conviction.  An IID requires the driver to blow into a machine to start any vehicle that they own or drive. If alcohol is detected, the car will not start, and if alcohol is detected while operating, the car will shut down.  The cost is a $200 installation, and about $80 per month to continue to maintain the device.

Orange County does not currently require the Ignition Interlock Device.  The DMV will shorten a suspension for a second time, non refusal offense, if you install an IID.

Insurance and An SR-22.

An SR-22 form, which is used for proof of insurance, is used to reinstate driving privileges for persons with a DUI.  See our page with instructions and recommended strategies for issuing an SR-22 in DUI cases: SR22 and a DUI.

How Can I Make Sure I am Never in This Situation Again?

No one wants you to be a repeat customer here – not the courts, not the prosecutor, not the alcohol schools, not the insurance companies, and certainly not this DUI defense attorney.  Follow this basic advice to make sure you never face this situation again, ever:

  • Have someone else drive
  • Drink water to full hydration any time you are drinking
  • Eat before drinking any alcohol
  • When driving, don’t violate any traffic law.

If you need the services of our Orange County DUI Attorney, contact us any time at (877) 568-2977.  We can use our years of experience to help you.

DUI cases in California for Out of State Residents

DUI cases in California for Out of State Residents

Out of State DUI cases in California

You or a friend has just been charged with DUI (drunk driving) in California. You are from another state, were visiting, just moved here, or otherwise hold a driver’s license from another state.  This is different from the situation where a California driver gets a DUI in another state. How does the law handle DUI cases in California for out of State residents?

Since there exists interstate shared information between DMVs from state to state, you can lose your privilege to drive in your home state. Here is how it works, under the Interstate driver’s compact, motor vehicle departments in certain other states must recognize a California suspension to drive.

If you lose your privilege to drive and the California DMV suspends your license, you can lose your privilege to drive anywhere from four months to several years. The length of suspension will depend on factors including the following:

  • How many prior DUI convictions you have in ten years;
  • Whether or not you have refused to take a blood, breath or urine test to determine your blood alcohol concentration;
  • Whether or not you are under 21;
  • Whether or not you were on DUI probation already for a prior when stopped.

What happens at a California DMV hearing for those out of state.

If the police followed procedure when you were arrested, here is what should have happened:

  • When you were arrested for DUI, police should not have taken away your out of state driver’s license. California police don’t have jurisdiction over your state’s license. You should have been given your license back.
  • However, police will warn you that privileges to drive in California are suspended by giving you the pink temporary license. You get to keep your license.
  • Your home DMV will be notified of your DUI charge if you lose a DMV hearing or you do not request a DMV hearing. The DMV in your home state usually will take whatever actions against your driver’s license that any DUI offender in your home state would be subject to.
  • You can only prevent action in your home state regarding your license by requesting a hearing with the California DMV. You have only 10 days from the date of your arrest to file this request.

Requesting the DMV hearing in California can completely prevent action by your home state.

You do not have to be in California for the DMV hearing.  You can handle it telephonically, or have an attorney appear for you.

What happens in Court for an Out of State Resident

A DUI defense attorney can also handle the entire case in court in California for you, without you having to return to California.  California law allows us to appear on your behalf, as your agent, the same as you being there.

Why choose your firm

Top rated Orange County Attorney

After 23 years of practice, we know California law regarding DUI and DUI procedures, and defenses. We know how to handle cases for people out of state.

Contact us.

Contact us

Hire an experienced, competent, knowledgeable DUI defense attorney.  Contact our office today for help with your case.

Should I consent to a test in a DUI?

Should I consent to a test in a DUI?

dui breath test

Should I consent to a chemical test to determine my blood alcohol concentration? In the State of California, as in almost all states, a driver is required to submit to a chemical test of his blood, breath or urine upon request of the police officer. The consequences of refusing to submit vary from state to state.

Generally, using the State of California as an example, the following adverse consequences can occur:

  • Your drivers license will be suspended by the Department of Motor Vehicles for 1, 2 or 3 years depending upon the circumstances and significantly, whether or not you have prior DUI convictions. This drivers license suspension may even be upheld if you are subsequently found not guilty of the drunk driving charge.  There is no restricted license available for a refusal.
  • In the trial of the drunk driving charge in a court of law, your refusal will in all probability be introduced by the prosecution as evidence of your “consciousness of guilt”. Without a doubt, however, a competent criminal defense attorney will offer other reasons for your refusal. The decision to refuse a chemical test is one not to be made lightly. If you believe that submitting to a chemical test will produce evidence of a high blood alcohol concentration, must be weighed by an individual against the consequences for refusing to submit.

We have distinguished on this website between non-evidentiary tests, which are usually field breathalyzers or PAS devices, and evidentiary breath or blood tests.

The first kind, the PAS testing, is optional, just like all field sobriety tests are.  However, the evientiary test, whether blood or breath, is mandatory, or you suffer the court punishment above, and the driver’s license suspension described above.

If you have questions about whether or not you should consent to a breath or blood test in a DUI, contact us anytime at (877) 942-3090.

Should I refuse field sobriety tests in a DUI?

Should I refuse the field sobriety tests in a DUI?

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) Field Sobriety Test

Should I refuse to submit to the field sobriety test if I am pulled over for a DUI?   You are not legally required to take a field sobriety test. This is unlike the chemical tests to determine your blood alcohol concentration [BAC]. When asked to take a chemical test, by a police officer who has already arrested you, if you refuse there are serious consequences, i.e., loss of drivers license for a year. I would recommend that you respectfully decline to take the field sobriety test. Remember, always be polite and courteous to the officer. If you are rude or become abusive or obstructive, the only person who is going to lose is you, not the police officer. You can certainly refuse the field sobriety test in a polite and courteous manner.

Always be polite, but say, “on the advice of counsel, I elect not to participate in any field sobriety test.”  And then be prepared for a response from the police officer.

  • Some Police officers will say, “if you pass the FSTs, you will not be arrested.”
  • Some deputy officers will say, “if you refuse to take the FSTs, you will be taken to jail.”
  • Some police agents will threaten to inform the court if you refuse to take the FSTs.
  • Some officers will tell you that your refusal can be used as evidence of your guilt, which is not true.
  • Do not allow the officer to trick or intimidate you into taking any FST.  FSTs are completely voluntary and it is your right not to take them.  Electing not to take them cannot be used against you.

Should I refuse the field sobriety tests in a DUI?  The answer is yes.  Those tests are voluntary, and there are no negative consequences to saying no to the FSTs.  However, you should be aware of a few related issues that may be confusing:

  1. A field breathalyzer, or PAS device, is considered part of the field sobriety testing.  You can safely refuse that test also, which just tests for the presence of alcohol, without consequence.
  2. If the officer has probable cause, or a reasonable suspicion that you are under the influence from observing you and your driving, the officer can demand that you take a blood test or a breath test, as an evidentiary test.  You are required under the implied consent law to take that test, or suffer additional punishment in court, and a mandatory one year suspension of driving privileges
  3. If you refuse all tests, including the PAS field breathalyzer (which again, is not an evidentiary test), then it is likely that you will be taken into custody.  You will be released without having to post bail, unless there is a warrant from another case that requires you be held, or if you have a prior DUI case, but the case becomes much more difficult to make stick against you, and that is to your advantage.  The fact you were arrested is inconvenient, but in the long run, is much better than having a DUI conviction and license suspension.

What is a DUI Saturation Patrol?

What is a DUI Saturation Patrol?

CHP DUI Arrest Rearview

A DUI saturation patrol is not the same as a DUI checkpoint.  Saturation patrols, sometimes called roving police patrols or wolf packs, involve law enforcement deploying additional police patrol cars to targeted roads during select time periods to detect and apprehend drunk drivers.

Saturation patrols look for changes in driving behaviors. The behaviors most often assessed are the following:

  • Weaving outside of the lane lines;
  • Following too closely;
  • Driving too slowly;
  • Speeding; and
  • Driving without headlights.  Driving with your headlights off, in a study of police reports from all over the United States, had the largest statistical correlation to a person actually drunk driving, from NHTSA studies of the reports.

However, not all law enforcement agencies have the same guidelines for saturation patrols.  While the idea behind a saturation patrol is that a large number of law enforcement officers will look for drunk drivers, other police departments instead have an entirely different approach.

With some police agencies, the purpose of saturation patrols are to be a “zero tolerance” for all traffic violations, including people driving with cellphones, not having a seatbelt, or any other conceivable traffic violations, no matter how small.  The idea there is that by casting a wider net and inspecting all cars and drivers for any and all traffic citations, they can observe those that might be DUI.

That is done by by conducting stops to give tickets, and making initial observations for any and all of the following:

  • Bloodshot, watery eyes;
  • Lack of coordination in getting license, insurance, and registration information;
  • Slurred speech;
  • An odor of alcohol;
  • A flushed complexion;
  • Enlarged pupils, sweating, nervousness, a high pulse, or confusion, which can show consumption of drugs, and thus Driving Under the Influence of Drugs;
  • Evidence of alcohol or drug consumption related to driving, including bottles alcohol containers, pipes, bongs, or pharmaceutical packaging in the vehicle.

Any of those can lead to a request that the driver submit to field sobriety testing, or a breath or blood test.

Probable Cause and Saturation Patrols

While a DUI checkpoint that is properly run under legal guidelines does NOT need to establish probable cause to inspect for DUI, a saturation patrol still needs to have probable cause.  A Saturation Patrol must have a legal violation to justify the stop and effectively a search of the car, or body (through breath or blood), and thus are different than DUI checkpoints.

Effectiveness of Saturation Patrols

Academic and research papers analyzing the statistics show that saturation patrols appear to be effective in reducing impaired driving  (Stuster & Blowers, 1995).  Many studies show they are many times more effective in finding, and arresting, those that are DUI, than DUI checkpoints are. (UNC Highway Safety Research Center, 2011, p. 1-20)

“Like sobriety checkpoints, the primary purpose of saturation patrols is to deter driving after drinking by increasing the perceived risk of arrest. To do this, saturation patrols should be publicized extensively and conducted regularly.” (UNC Highway Safety Research Center, 2011, p. 1-20). Saturation patrols can have advantages over sobriety checkpoints, including increased effectiveness, reduced staffing, and comparative ease of operation (Greene, 2003).

A less-intensive strategy is the “roving patrol” in which individual patrol officers concentrate on detecting and arresting impaired drivers in an area where impaired driving is common or where alcohol-involved crashes have occurred (Stuster, 2000). A “how-to” guide for planning and publicizing saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints is available from NHTSA (NHTSA, 2002).

However, the research on the saturation patrol strategy is limited and is certainly not as extensive as that on sobriety checkpoints, as this is a newer law enforcement technique. Roving patrols are sometimes conducted in association with checkpoints to cut down on drivers circumventing checkpoint enforcement locations. Officers are dispatched to alternative routes to patrol for drinking drivers, and at the same time looking for those that are purposely avoiding DUI checkpoints.

Contact our DUI Defense Firm if you have questions, or call us at (877) 942-3090.