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Admission of Evidence of DUI in California

As a common rule, if the officer had reasonable cause to suspect that the motorist was driving under the influence, any evidence is admissible. On the other hand, if the officer lacked reasonable cause and stopped the motorist, any evidence found is inadmissible.

Once the officer lawfully stops the motorist, any actions or statements made by the motorist may be used against him. Evidence of the motorist appearance, scent, speech, and actions are admissible. Furthermore, if the arresting officer had experience in medical training, she may categorize the motorist behavior (i.e. the motorist was acting like a normal alcoholic or a normal drug user).

Furthermore, evidence is excluded if the evidence is “stale” and “untimely”, even if the evidence was obtained lawfully. For example, printing off a blood alcohol concentration report one (1) month after the alleged testing constitutes “stale” and “untimely” evidence. Glatman v. Valverde, 146 Cal. App.4th 700 (Ct. App. 2006). In Glatman, the officer stopped the motorist on July 24, 2005. The motorist was drawn blood for a blood alcohol concentration test on the same day. The next day, a forensic analyst conducted the test and determined the motorist’s blood alcohol concentration was 0.137. The next day, another forensic analyst determined that the blood alcohol concentration was 0.135. Both analysts certified these test results on August 1, 2005. The results were inputted into a blood alcohol concentration database. An alcohol administrative hearing was held on September 2005, the prosecutor sought to introduce a transcript of the alleged test results. But the transcript did not state when the forensic test was conducted but just the results. The transcript only stated “September 6, 2005.” The trial court excluded the transcript. The appellate court agreed. Under California law, blood alcohol tests are hearsay evidence. These results are only admissible if the writing was made at or near the time of the act, event, or condition. In this case, the test may have occurred one or two days after the drawing of the blood, but the transcript stated one month after the blood drawing. Because the court can’t determine when the forensic analysts entered the results, the date on the transcript is the one the court is willing to accept. Since the document was made one month after the drawing, it was not made at or near the time of the blood drawing.


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