When you are stopped on suspicion of a DUI in Los Angeles, it can be a nerve-racking experience. The stopping officer will not likely be very kindly and may request that you perform certain tasks or answer particular questions.
Whether you realize it or not, the officer is investigating you. He has stopped you with the suspicion that you are somehow impaired by drugs or alcohol and is looking for any evidence that will support his belief.
If the officer asks you questions like “have you been drinking tonight?”, you can politely decline to answer or tell him that you do not wish to speak without first consulting with you attorney. Beyond providing your name and driver’s license, you are not required to say anything more to the officer.
The officer may also ask you to step out of your vehicle and perform certain physical exercises called “field sobriety tests” (FST). These tests, which may involve you walking a straight line, touching your nose, or reciting the alphabet, are designed to test your coordination. What you may not know is that these tests can also be very difficult to perform even sober, so your chances of performing these tests satisfactorily is fairly low. You can therefore, refuse to perform FSTs. The officer may take you into custody for refusing, but it will not result in new charges and you will avoid potentially incriminating yourself.
During your traffic stop, the officer may also ask you to breath into a “preliminary alcohol screening” (PAS) test, which is a small device that measures the alcohol content in your breathe. You can refuse this. The officer may threaten or confuse you into taking it, but keep in mind that you are not required to take this particular test.
However, you ARE required to submit to a chemical breath or blood test because of your “implied consent” when you obtained your driver’s license. These tests require you to be at the police station or hospital, and are never administered out in the field. Refusing to submit to these tests can result in harsher punishments.
It is important to know your rights and to be able to competently defend yourself against criminal prosecution stemming from a DUI arrest. Our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have been helping people in this way for over 30 years and can provide you with the legal assistance that you need. Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245. We will be there for you when you call.