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The 15 Minute Observation Period

How does an officer know if someone is intoxicated? If they are assessing them based on outward signs how long does it take before they can come to an accurate conclusion? In the state of California that question is answered with 15 minutes and this is the minimum time that an officer should be inspecting a suspect before they are able to more accurately determine if they are in fact under the influence. During the 15 minutes, the individual will be unable to eat, drink or smoke since this can influence test results. This time frame can allow them to note certain signs in an individual or issue that can influence the results of a test.

While juries are not always going to toss out the results of a field sobriety test due to a lack of adhering to the 15 minute period, it may be taken into consideration in a case. If it can be proven that an officer did not adequately investigate the individual or review them for enough time, it may be enough to sway the final decision. It may also influence the case if it can be shown that the officer did not really assess the individual during the time frame but was doing other things such as filling out paperwork of having the suspect ride in the back seat where they were unable to see them. This can show that they did not fully follow procedure and a skilled attorney may understand how to use this to strengthen a case.

Unfortunately, this standard of adequate observation is not always followed and many people are wrongfully accused. To make sure that you are given a fair trial and that your rights are defended, contact Pasadena criminal defense lawyer, Matthew Cargal. Don't wait to set up a free consultation immediately.