If a law enforcement officer suspects a person of driving under the influence, they may perform a field sobriety test. This is a series of tasks designed to determine if a person might be under the influence. Another type of testing that an officer might do is a breathalyzer test, which is administered via PAS device. PAS stands for Preliminary Alcohol Screening. Once a person is arrested, they will likely be given a second breathalyzer test with a device that complies with California’s Title 17 rules. A person is not allowed to refuse this test. They may request a blood or urine test instead, but if that is not available, they must take the breathalyzer. This second test is the one that is used as evidence at trial.
ABC 7 reports that a retired LAPD commander suspected of DUI was never given a breathalyzer test by LAPD investigators.
Early in the morning on January 25th, an abandoned wrecked Dodge Charger was found in Carson. The vehicle belonged to former Los Angeles Police Department commander Jeff Nolte. Nolte was nowhere to be found.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore told media that Nolte was not given a breathalyzer test, reportedly because he did not display any signs of intoxication once he was located. However, 911 calls from the night of the accident report that witnesses allegedly observed a vehicle driving down the freeway on one tire.
Nolte allegedly crashed in a guardrail on the 110 Freeway and then continued driving. He then got onto the 405 Freeway, where he exited at Avalon Boulevard and abandoned his vehicle less than a block from the Carson Sheriff’s station.
The accident would have been under the jurisdiction of the California Highway Patrol. The abandoned vehicle would have been under the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. However, the Los Angeles Police Department took over the investigation almost immediately.
The LAPD first said that they referred the case to the City Attorney’s Office in Carson, which the office denied. The agency then said that they had submitted the case to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office in late July. However, as of August 8th, the office had stated no such case had been submitted.
Nolte retired in June after enrolling in the controversial Deferred Retirement Option plan. This allowed Nolte to collect both his regular pay and retirement pay while he was placed on administrative leave shortly after the accident.