If you are pulled over by the police, it is important to remain calm and know your rights. Even if you feel that you have done nothing wrong, showing a negative attitude or not cooperating with a police officer can only do you harm. It is important to remember your rights and conduct yourself accordingly.
Our DUI defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich wish to share with you the following best practices to remember if you are pulled over by law enforcement on suspicion of DUI…
1. You do not have to answer an officer’s questions.
The only thing you are required to do when you are pulled over is provide the police officer with your driver’s license, proof of insurance and registration. If an officer asks, “How much have you had to drink tonight?” you do not have to answer. Answering, “I only had two beers” can arouse suspicion in the officer because it is such commonly given answer.
Do not admit guilt and do no lie to the officer. You can exercise your Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination by simply replying, “I prefer not to answer” to the officer’s questions.
2. You can refuse a sobriety test.
Most people do not know that they have the right to refuse a field sobriety test. This is because the police are not required to tell you this if they pull you over. If an officer asks you to perform a field sobriety test, you should politely decline and state the reason why, saying that the test is “not required under California law” or that the test is “too subjective” (it is up to the discretion of the officer to decide if you pass or fail). It is important to state why because your conversation with the officer may be recorded.
Unless you are on probation for a past DUI conviction or are under the age of 21, you do not have to submit to a chemical alcohol test (also known as a preliminary alcohol screening). Again, you can politely decline a chemical test and state why by saying, “it is not required under California law.”
3. Do not give the police probable cause to arrest you.
The police can only arrest you if they have probable cause. “Probable cause” is a reasonable belief that something illegal is or was taking place in your car. Examples of probable cause include the sight of alcohol in plain view, the smell of alcohol or if an admission of guilt.
Probable cause cannot be your refusal to submit to a sobriety test. If the officer does not have probable cause to suspect you of DUI, he or she cannot arrest you.
4. If the police have probable cause to arrest you for DUI, then you must submit to a sobriety test.
If you are arrested for DUI, you are required to submit to a chemical test for alcohol by breath or blood. The validity of a breath chemical test can be more easily attacked in court because the machines have a built-in margin of error that may work in your favor. A breath test can only be taken once.
A blood sample can be tested more than once. Your attorney can have a blood sample retested by an independent agency to determine the accuracy of the police’s results.
If you are arrested for DUI, do not refuse the chemical test. As a stipulation for receiving your California driver’s license, you are required to give one if you are arrested for DUI. If you refuse a chemical test, it will be used against you in court and your license will be suspended for one year. Furthermore, the police will hold you down and take a blood sample anyway.
5. Be polite to the officer at all times.
Being pulled over by the police can be a stressful or even aggravating experience. However, it is important to not be rude, combatant or appear anxious to the officer. Doing so can only agitate the officer, arouse suspicion and do harm to your case. Keep calm, assert your rights and prepare to contact a DUI defense attorney.
Call Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or a loved one has been charged with DUI, it is critical that you speak to an experienced DUI defense attorney. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have over 30 years of experience successfully defending those faced with DUI charges. Our attorneys will fight to get you the best possible outcome in your case.
With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich Southern California DUI defense attorney near you no matter where you work or live.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.