Know Your Rights When It Comes to Prolonged DUI Detentions


When a DUI defendant is detained without probable cause for an arrest while a "special drunk driving expert" is called to administer the field sobriety tests, if the delay until the expert arrives is too long, the extended detention without probable cause violates the Fourth Amendment and could result in a dismissal of your DUI charges. A Motion to Suppress is the prime vehicle with which to effectuate such a dismissal of your Orange County DUI case.

Regaring Prolonged DUI Detentions, an investigative detention must be temporary and last no longer than is necessary to effectuate the purpose of the stop. In U.S. v. Sharpe (1985) 470 U.S. 675, the court held that a 20-minute delay during an investigative stop was not unreasonable. Stating that there is no “bright line” rule, the court defined the standard as: “whether the police diligently pursued a means of investigation that was likely to confirm or dispel their suspicions quickly, during which time it was necessary to detain the defendant.” [California cases are People v. Gomez (2004) 117 Cal.App.4th 531—A delay of over one hour to obtain a K-9 unit to do a narcotics search of an automobile constituted an illegal detention. The denial of the defendant’s suppression motion was nonetheless upheld due to the fact that the court found the officer had probable cause to make what the court termed was a de facto arrest. People v. Gorak (1987) 196 Cal.App.3d 1032—20-minute delay for drug influence expert was okay; and People v. Dasilva (1989) 207 Cal.App.3d 43—20-to-25-minute delay to check out-of-state registration was O.K.; also see U.S. v. $191, 910 in U.S. Currency (1991) 772 F.Supp. 473.]


If you were arrested for DUI in Orange County and feel that you were the subject of a prolonged DUI detention, contact Peter F. Iocona, Attorney at Law for a free DUI Consultation and Case Evaluation and to discuss any legal and/or factual defenses that may exist as a result of a prolonged DUI Detention.