TIPS FOR WHEN YOU ARE STOPPED FOR SUSPICION OF DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE “DUI”
If you find yourself in the unfortunate circumstance of being stopped for suspicion of driving under influence “DUI” in California, the following tips could make a difference between a conviction and loss of your driver’s license to an acquital. The tips outlined, don’t necessarily get you out of a DUI arrest, but they will make it much more difficult for the prosecutor to effectively prosecute you, and convict of you of a DUI which will affect your driving privileges, insurance rate, and fines and penalties.
Here are some tips:
- Do not drink and drive,
- Be polite and courteous when a police officer pulls you over and asks you questions. However, the questions the police officer asks you are specifically designed to have you confess to a crime, particularly DUI,
- Politely refuse the field sobriety tests (FSTs). Contrary to popular belief, these tests are not mandatory and rarely, if ever, help a driver suspected of driving under the influence. Acrobatics or gymnastics Field Sobriety Tests, are optional and completely voluntary. If you try to do them, you may be arrested anyway. It is better not to give the investigating officer any evidence that will be used against you in court. You can politely refuse to do any these field sobriety tests. Note: If you are on probation for a previous DUI-Drunk Driving conviction, a term of your probation may require you to submit to Field Sobriety Tests. Be sure to review your terms of probation if you are on probation for a previous DUI conviction and consult a DUI defense attorney
- Politely refuse to submit to a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test, also commonly referred to as Breath Tests. Politely refuse to blow into any hand-held gadget, aka, the preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test. If you are older than 21 and not on California DUI probation, the test is voluntary and you have the right to refuse this type of breath test. Similar to FSTs, a PAS test is voluntary, unless you are under 21 or are currently on probation for a prior California DUI.
- Only submit to a chemical DUI blood or breath test after you have been arrested. Failure to submit to a chemical or DUI blood will result in you losing your California driver’s license for a minimum of one-year and and possibly 48 hours in a county jail.
- Exercise your Constitutional right to remain silent. Any statements you make, can and will be used against you to incriminate you and/or attack your credibility. If the officer asks you if you have been drinking alcohol, simply say “on the advice of my attorney, I choose to exercise my 5th amendment right and remain silent.” It is your constitutional right to remain silent and not say anything that may incriminate you. The officer is likely to ask you questions regarding where you’ve been, what you’ve eaten, how many alcoholic beverages you drank, what were you drinking, when you last slept. By doing so, the officer is gathering information to make a quick determination of your drinking pattern, and with this information, the officer will determine if he/she should test your blood alcohol level as soon as possible or wait a while until you have fully absorbed the alcohol in your stomach. Also, by answering the officer’s questions, you are helping the officer gather evidence, including your statements, that will be used against you in court. Again, politely say “Officer, I choose to exercise my 5th amendment right and remain silent.”
- The choice between Breathe Analyzer and Blood Test is complicated. Breath Analyzers are notoriously unreliable, and you may have good grounds to attack the integrity of equipment used to test. However, on the flip side, if you choose a breath test, the officer will know your breath alcohol concentration immediately. He will then write his arrest report having your breath alcohol concentration in mind. The officer is now more likely to embellish facts in his report to support his arrest. For example: the driver was weaving in the lane, the driver had slurred speech, the driver stumbled when he walked, the driver fumbled in his wallet to get his driver license, etc. – all because the officer knows your breath alcohol concentration before writing his report.If you choose a blood test, the arresting officer will not know the results of the blood test for weeks. The arrest report will more than likely have been written prior to the blood test results being available. The arresting officer’s report will likely be more objective and honest because the officer wrote it without knowing the level of your blood alcohol concentration. In addition, if you choose a blood test, an experienced DUI-Drunk Driving defense attorney will have the opportunity to have your blood re-tested by an independent laboratory to verify the result as well as check for proper preservative levels, the presence of bacteria, etc. If you choose a breath test, the breath sample is not saved and therefore can not be retested. Also note that things can go wrong with the blood sample, such as bacteria growth, or coagulation.
- Be sure to take only one test! Some officers will talk the driver into taking a breath and a blood test. That’s like having two smoking guns. Take one test only. Note: If you have not been drinking alcohol and are being arrested for driving under the influence of drugs, choose a urine test as it is the least accurate test.
- Make sure your tail lights, turn signals, etc. are working properly. Inspect your car and make sure all lights are working. Also make sure your windows are not unlawfully tinted. On many occasions, a person is stopped by an officer because a tail light is out, or the car has some other problem. The officer then smells alcohol when he walks up to the driver’s window and a DUI investigation follows. Between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and thereafter, officers on patrol are looking for reasons to stop drivers to possibly get a DUI-Drunk Driving arrest.
- Insist on your three completed telephone calls and make a detailed record of all events. Penal Code § 851.5 entitles an arrested person 3 completed telephone calls. This is your right and therefore you should insist!
- Call someone, or call your cell phone as soon as you can, and leave yourself a voice message to record your voice. This will evidence that your speech is not slurred, and the recording can be used as evidence in your defense, particularly in the vent the arresting officer states in his report that your voice was slurry.
- Call an experienced Criminal Defense Attorney right away.
- If you are arrested for DUI or suspicion of Driving Under Influence, contact a lawyer immediately, because you have 10 days to act before DMV suspends your license.
Call DUI defense attorney Tony Forberg at 818.484.7823 or 310.888.4006.