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Officer’s Admonition in Los Angeles DUI


Officer’s Admonition in Los Angeles DUI

Getting pulled over for a DUI can be a scary experience. The flashing lights in your rearview mirror, the officer walking up to your window, the questions about where you’re coming from and if you’ve had anything to drink—it’s a lot to deal with in the moment. And if the officer ultimately arrests you for DUI, things get even more serious.

One of the key things that happens after a DUI arrest is that the officer reads you something called the “admonition.” This is a required statement that informs you of your legal rights and the consequences if you refuse to submit to a chemical test of your blood alcohol content (BAC). Failing to provide a proper admonition can potentially invalidate a DUI case, so it’s an important thing to be aware of.

In this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know about the officer’s admonition in a Los Angeles DUI case. We’ll cover:

  • What is the officer’s admonition?
  • When does the officer give the admonition?
  • What happens if the officer doesn’t give the admonition properly?
  • How can a refusal admonition impact your DUI case?
  • What are your options if the admonition was flawed?

We’ll also link out to helpful resources so you can learn more. Getting arrested for DUI can be overwhelming, but understanding your rights and the process is the first step in navigating the situation.

What is the Officer’s Admonition?

The officer’s admonition is a required statement that must be read to all drivers arrested on suspicion of DUI in California. The admonition informs you of your legal rights and the consequences if you refuse to submit to a chemical test to determine your BAC.

Specifically, the officer’s admonition states that you have a choice of whether to submit to a chemical test, and that if you refuse, your driving privileges may be suspended for one year or revoked for two or three years [1]. It also informs you that your refusal to submit to a test may be used against you in court. The officer reads this statement directly from a pre-printed card.

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The chemical test referred to in the admonition is usually a breath or blood test. Breath tests are done roadside after a DUI arrest using a breathalyzer device. Blood tests require going to a clinic or hospital to have blood drawn to test BAC.

The admonition is an important part of the DUI arrest process because it makes clear that submitting to a chemical BAC test is not mandatory, despite what many drivers assume. You have the legal right to refuse under California’s implied consent law. But there are consequences for refusing.

When Does the Officer Give the Admonition?

The officer is required to provide the admonition after placing the driver under arrest for DUI, but before administering any chemical BAC tests [2].

This timing is important. The admonition informs the driver of their rights regarding chemical testing, so it must come after arrest but before any tests are done. If the officer fails to provide the admonition during this window, it could invalidate the results of any subsequent tests.

For example, if the officer does a roadside breath test without first reading the admonition, a good DUI defense lawyer could potentially get those breathalyzer results thrown out of court. The driver was not properly informed of their right to refuse before the test was administered.

What Happens if the Officer Doesn’t Give the Admonition Properly?

There are a few scenarios where the officer might fail to administer the admonition properly:

  • No admonition is provided at all
  • The officer reads an incomplete or incorrect admonition
  • The officer induces confusion about the driver’s rights

In any of these situations, the driver’s consent to chemical testing may be called into question [3]. And if the BAC test was done without true consent, the results could potentially be suppressed and not admissible in court.

Let’s look at each of these issues with improper admonition in more detail:

No Admonition Given

If the arresting officer completely fails to provide the required admonition after the DUI arrest, it can invalidate any subsequent chemical BAC testing. Without being informed of their rights, the driver cannot be said to have given full consent.

In this situation, a skilled DUI lawyer could make the argument that the BAC results were obtained illegally and should be excluded from evidence [4]. Suppressing incriminating BAC results could get the DUI charges against you dropped or reduced.

Incomplete or Incorrect Admonition

If the officer provides the admonition, but leaves out important parts or gets important details wrong, this could also invalidate BAC test results. The admonition must fully inform drivers of their right to refuse testing and the exact consequences of refusal. Any deviations from the standard admonition language could show the driver was not properly informed of their rights.

Officer-Induced Confusion

Sometimes the officer gives the standard admonition correctly, but then essentially contradicts it by inducing confusion in the driver about their right to refuse testing. For example, insisting that the driver has no choice but to submit to a blood test, even though the admonition says they can refuse. If the officer causes confusion about the driver’s rights, it can invalidate consent [3].

In any of these situations where the officer failed to properly advise the driver of their rights, a DUI lawyer may be able to challenge the admissibility of the BAC test results and potentially get the DUI charges reduced or dismissed.

How Can a Refusal Admonition Impact Your DUI Case?

As we’ve covered, the officer’s admonition informs drivers of their right to refuse to submit to chemical BAC testing after a DUI arrest. What happens next depends on whether the driver chooses to refuse or consent to testing after being read this admonition.

If You Consent to Testing

If you consent to a breath or blood test after being read the admonition, the officer will administer the chemical BAC test. The results of that test can then be used as evidence against you in your DUI criminal case and any related DMV proceedings. This gives the prosecution hard evidence about your level of intoxication.

If You Refuse Testing

You also have the right under the admonition to refuse chemical testing. But there are consequences if you do. Refusing testing triggers penalties to your driver’s license, including longer suspension or revocation periods. A refusal can also be used as evidence against you in court to show a “consciousness of guilt.”

That said, some drivers ultimately decide refusing testing is better than providing actual BAC results that show intoxication over the legal limit. It comes down to weighing the pros and cons of refusing vs. consenting in your particular case.

Either way, your decision comes only after being read the officer’s admonition of rights. If the admonition was not given properly, it calls into question whether your consent or refusal was fully informed.

What Are Your Options if the Admonition Was Flawed?

If you believe the officer did not properly advise you of your rights regarding chemical testing, that opens up important defense options in your DUI case, including:

  • Challenge test results: File a motion to suppress the BAC test results due to lack of consent. If granted, the prosecution cannot use the results against you.
  • Challenge test refusal: Contest the validity of your refusal decision due to confusion over your rights. This can avoid refusal penalties.
  • Negotiate with prosecutor: Use flaws in the admonition as leverage to get charges reduced or dismissed through plea bargaining.
  • Go to trial: Take the case to trial and bring up admonition issues to fight the charges before a judge.

An experienced DUI lawyer can evaluate issues with the officer’s admonition in your case and advise you on the best defense strategy. Tactically using admonition problems to your advantage can result in very favorable case outcomes.

Some common situations where admonition challenges help win DUI cases include:

  • Getting breath test results excluded due to no admonition
  • Avoiding refusal suspension because of officer confusion
  • Having charges dropped from lack of evidence without BAC results
  • Negotiating a wet reckless charge instead of DUI

But you need an attorney who understands DUI implied consent laws and admonition issues to make these arguments effectively. Don’t leave your defense to chance.

Speak with a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer

Being arrested for DUI can be a disorienting experience. Many drivers don’t fully understand their rights when it comes to chemical testing or the significance of the officer’s admonition. They feel pressured in the moment to consent to a breath or blood test. But you have the right to refuse under California law—once you are properly advised of your rights.

If you believe the officer mishandled the admonition in your DUI arrest, contact a skilled Los Angeles DUI defense attorney right away. Share exactly what the officer said and did during the admonition. An experienced lawyer can evaluate if you have grounds to challenge the admissibility of BAC test results or contest the validity of a test refusal. Leveraging flaws in the admonition may lead to reduced charges or a dismissal. Don’t let an improper admonition go unquestioned. Protect your rights.

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