Getting Pulled Over For A DUI
HandelontheLaw.com Staff Writer
Preparing a reliable list of “DO’S and DON’TS” about DUI is tough because states vary in their treatments of field sobriety tests, breathalyzer tests and other aspects of DUI. Consequently, you should check your State’s specific laws about the DUI aspects discussed below to intelligently plan your best course of action.
DO be respectful toward the police officer. Acting hostile toward the officer will not help you and might hurt you. Hostility can result in some mighty harsh treatment and can cause the situation to escalate to the point of physical injury and/or additional charges, such as Resisting Arrest.
DON’T admit that you were drinking. In fact, expect that any admission, any denial - anything you say - can and will be used against you. DON’T tie your lawyer’s hands later by admitting that you were drinking now. (You’re going to admit it anyway, aren’t you? AREN’T YOU?! I told you not to admit it! Well, if you’re going to admit drinking, then DO tell the officer that you drank it all immediately before driving. It takes time for the body to absorb alcohol and insisting that you drank only immediately before driving can help skew the use of breathalyzer or blood test results against you.)
DON’T take the Field Sobriety Tests (unless your State requires you to take them). Field Sobriety Tests typically include such delights as: “One-Leg Stand,” “Walk-And-Turn,” “Finger-To-Nose,” and “Backward Numbers.” In many states, you are not required to take these tests and they can be difficult for even a sober person, so why take them and give the police additional evidence against you? Politely refuse and let your lawyer handle the fallout from your refusal later.
DON’T take the roadside breathalyzer test, sometimes called the “Preliminary Alcohol Screening” or the “Preliminary Breath Test,” (unless your State requires you to take it). Again, many states do not require you to take it and it will give the police additional information (if not submissible evidence) against you, so why take it? Politely refuse.
DO or DON’T take the breathalyzer test. In some states, you can lose your driving privileges for simply refusing to take the breathalyzer test, even if you were completely sober when stopped. Some other states will require you to take either the breathalyzer test or a blood test after arrest. Here’s where it gets interesting. Some DUI experts say DO take the breathalyzer test because it is notoriously unreliable and can easily be attacked at trial, which is true. Other DUI experts say DON’T take the breathalyzer test because police can fiddle with the machine, it just gives the police more evidence against you, and the more accurate blood test must be independently verified by a lab, which is also true. Personally, it would depend: suspecting that I had too much to drink, I would take the breathalyzer test, knowing that it tends to be less reliable than the blood test and knowing how easily and effectively it can be attacked later; however, believing that I did not have too much to drink, I would opt for the blood test because it tends to be more accurate.
DON’T run away. Fleeing the scene can get you physically hurt by the police and will add a minimum of one more charge to your legal tab.
DON’T refuse to be arrested. That can also get you physically hurt by the police and add a minimum of another charge to your legal tab.
DO specifically assert your Constitutional rights to remain silent and to an attorney after your arrest, which is when they count.
DO hire a lawyer who specializes in DUI Defense. He/she routinely handles all the issues addressed in this article (and more) and knows the ropes for attacking DUI charges.
IN THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
DO be respectful toward the police officer.
DON’T admit that you were drinking.
DON’T take the Field Sobriety Tests and portable roadside breathalyzer test as long as you are over 21 years of age and are not on probation for another DUI conviction.
DON’T run away.
DON’T refuse to be arrested.
If the officer arrests you (which he/she just might do under the circumstances), you are legally required to choose among a breathalyzer test, a blood test or a urine test. (Urine tests are normally offered only if breathalyzer/blood tests are not available). Upon arrest, you must undergo and complete chemical testing when asked or at best you will be fined and have your driver’s license suspended for a year. Depending on your driving record, especially your drinking/driving record and the outcome of your case, you could endure even worse penalties for refusing or failing to complete the test, up to and including imprisonment and revocation of your driver’s license. DO take the breathalyzer test if you suspect that you had too much to drink. DO take the blood test/urine test if you believe that you did not have too much to drink.
If you take the blood test, DO make sure that the testers preserve a blood sample for further testing.
DO specifically assert your Constitutional rights to remain silent and to ask for an attorney after your arrest, which is when they count.
DO hire a lawyer who specializes in DUI Defense.
[Note from HandelontheLaw.com: This article is to be used as an educational guide only and should not be interpreted as a legal consultation. Readers of this article are advised to seek an attorney if a legal consultation is needed. Laws may vary by state and are subject to change, thus the accuracy of this information cannot be guaranteed. Readers act on this information solely at their own risk. Neither HandelontheLaw.com, or any of its affiliates, shall have any liability stemming from this article.]
Note from HandelontheLaw.com: This article is to be used as an educational guide only and should not be interpreted as a legal consultation. Readers of this article are advised to seek an attorney if a legal consultation is needed. Laws may vary by state and are subject to change, thus the accuracy of this information can not be guaranteed. Readers act on this information solely at their own risk. Neither the author, handelonthelaw.com, or any of its affiliates shall have any liability stemming from this article.