Holiday DUI Stops: Do's and Don'ts
‘Tis the Season for Driving Under the Influence
1,001,329 Americans were arrested for DUI in 2018, while 127,250 of those arrests came from California. This means that California accounted for 12.7% of all 2018 DUI arrests in the US. That same year, 1,069 fatalities resulted from alcohol-impaired driving in CA.
These facts exemplify why California law enforcement agencies are particularly vigilant for intoxicated drivers during the holidays. Despite COVID-19, family and friends will inevitably get together for some holiday fun this year, therefore excessive alcohol consumption is more than likely. As a result, the chances of getting arrested for DUI may also increase.
The reality is many people think they are “sober enough” to drive because they only had a couple of drinks. However, one drink is too many if you plan on driving afterward. Thus, if you got pulled over on suspicion of DUI, consider the following do’s and don’ts as you navigate your DUI stop:
- Pull over immediately and turn off your car: The worst decision you can make is to evade a police officer and resist their demands by refusing to pull over.
- Remain in your vehicle with both hands on the wheel: To ease the officer’s tensions and create a safe environment for everyone, stay in your car and put both hands at the 10 and 2 o’clock positions of the steering wheel
- Follow the officer’s instructions: The officer may ask for your license and vehicle registration as well as direct you to turn down your music. Whatever the officer asks you to do, do it, or you may be suspected of resisting arrest.
- Be respectful at all times: Be polite to the officer, as it may benefit your situation in the long-run. If you cooperate with the officer without having a bad attitude and questioning their intentions, they may be less inclined to arrest you.
- Remember the details of your DUI stop: Politely ask for the officer’s name and badge number and try to remember as much information about your DUI stop as possible. Reflect on where you got pulled over, what time, what questions you were asked, what chemical and field sobriety tests you took (if any), and what you were initially pulled over for.
- Hire an attorney: If your DUI stop ended in an arrest, call a lawyer right away. You will be informed of your legal rights and the next steps to follow in your arrest procedure. For instance, your attorney may tell you to exercise your right to remain silent until they arrive at the station.
- Apologize: Saying “sorry” could be perceived as an admission of guilt. Although it is a habit for people to apologize, do your best to avoid doing so. It could help your case tremendously.
- Take the BAC test: Under California’s implied consent law, licensed drivers are deemed to have given their consent to blood or breath testing if they are arrested. As such, if you are simply being stopped for DUI, you are not legally obligated to submit to chemical testing of your blood or breath, even if the officer says otherwise.
- Take field sobriety tests: Field sobriety tests are notoriously inaccurate, as sober people even fail these tests. Balancing on one leg and walking heel-to-toe are not things most people do in their daily lives, and others may have underlying medical conditions that cause them to fail the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. As such, politely refuse to take any field sobriety tests because you may end up failing them for reasons unrelated to intoxication.
- Lie: Lying to a police officer may be used against you in court. By law, the officer may ask for your name, driver’s license, and vehicle registration, but if they ask you other questions such as how much you’ve had to drink, answer at your own risk or simply say something like, “I am sorry but I’ve been advised not to answer any further questions without my lawyer present.”
Arrested? We’ve Got Your Back.
Our San Bernardino DUI lawyer understands that even if you follow all the right steps, including the DUI do’s and don’ts described above, you may still end up with DUI charges. It can be scary to hear that you are accused of DUI, but know that your case is defendable. With the help of our DUI attorney in San Bernardino, you can rest assured that we will give your case the attention, respect, and priority it deserves.
Contact us at (909) 200-4045 today!