Kensington is one of the safest communities in California. Aside from the Circus Pub and a couple of other restaurants, there are not a lot of bars or restaurants serving alcohol in Kensington. However, nearby Berkeley, Albany, and El Cerrito offer more options for residents to go out for dinner and drinks. Unfortunately, this leaves many residents having to decide whether or not to drive home after having a couple of drinks.
Drinking and driving is not always so clear for the driver. One drink with dinner may not put you over the limit. However, a couple of drinks could impair your driving, especially if you are tired, dehydrated, or taking medication. This leaves a lot of drivers vulnerable to a drunk driving arrest even if the driver is not over the limit.
Suspicion of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol in Kensington
What makes the police stop a car on suspicion of drunk driving? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are a number of driving symptoms that could be indicators a driver may be under the influence. Signs of impaired driving may include:
- Wide turning radius,
- Straddling the center line,
- Almost striking another object,
- Swerving, and
- Slow speed limit.
Police may stop a driver on suspicion of impaired driving but often the police make a traffic stop for any type of traffic violation or infraction. For example, the police may pull you over if a tail light is burned out, your headlights are not on, or you rolled through a stop sign.
During the traffic stop, the police may then look for signs of any other crimes, including impaired driving. Any signs or evidence of drunk driving may include:
- Open containers of alcohol,
- A can or bottle sticking out from under the seat,
- Smell of alcohol,
- Bloodshot or watery eyes,
- Slurred speech,
- Slow response to questioning,
- Inconsistent statements about where they were going or coming from, and
- Clumsy or uncoordinated movement.
What You Can Do to Protect Yourself During a Traffic Stop
It may seem like the police have all the power during a traffic stop but you still have constitutional rights. You have the right to remain silent. It may not seem natural to be totally silent. You may also think it will make you look guilty if you are silent. However, you may want to remain silent because anything you say can be used to justify an arrest. Silence is better than lying, especially when the police catch you in an inconsistent story.
The police officer may also try and get the driver to take a Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) test. The PAS is the roadside breathalyzer test that shows a driver's estimated blood alcohol content (BAC). The important things to know about a PAS are that it is not mandatory, unless you are under 21 or on DUI probation, and it is not as accurate as the chemical test required after an arrest.
An inaccurate PAS may show the driver to be over the limit even if it was caused by a false positive, like medication, medical condition, or food or drink.
The police officer may also try to get the driver to do some standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs). However, like the portable breathalyzer, field sobriety tests are not mandatory and they are not always accurate. Medical conditions, improper instructions, medical history, the individual's weight, and shoes can all make a driver “fail” the SFSTs, even if the driver is totally sober.
If the police still arrest you after refusing a breath test or refusing to do the inaccurate field sobriety tests, the side of the road is not the place to fight a DUI. Contact an experienced East Bay DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible to fight the criminal charges so you can keep your license.
Court Appearance After a Kensington DUI Arrest
The court appearance after a Kensington DUI arrest may depend on which law enforcement agency was involved. Kensington is in Contra Costa County but on the edge of Alameda County. Each county has its own court system, with different courthouses and judges.
Contra Costa County DUI Court
An arrest in Kensington or nearby in Contra Costa County may result in having your DUI case held in Richmond . The Richmond Superior Court is the George D. Carroll Courthouse on 37th Street.
Richmond Superior Courthouse
100 37th Street
Richmond, CA 94805
Phone: (925) 646-4099
Alameda County DUI Court
An arrest in Berkeley or Alameda County may result in having your DUI case held in Oakland. The Oakland Courthouse for DUI arrests is the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse on Washington Street, between 6th and 7th, right off the 880 freeway. There is a parking garage on the corner of 7th Street and Jefferson Street, with the entrance off of 7th Street. Limited metered parking may be available on nearby streets.
Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse
661 Washington Street
Oakland, California 94607
Defense Attorney for Kensington DUIs
East Bay attorney Lynn Gorelick has more than 35 years of DUI experience and understands the consequences for drivers after a DUI arrest. Representing drivers and their families in Kensington, Contra Costa County, and Alameda County, Lynn Gorelick is familiar with the local DUI laws, and the local officers and prosecutors involved. Contact East Bay DUI lawyer Lynn Gorelick today.