What do I do if I am Pulled Over for DUI?

Posted over 1 year ago. Applies to California, 2 helpful votes

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It depends. If you have not been drinking or only had one or two drinks, just do everything the officer says and be on your way. The more problematic situation arises when you know you have had a bit too much or are not sure. If you do what is described below you may anger the officer, but stick to this if you want to beat a potential case – if the officer is getting frustrated it is only because you are lawfully hampering his efforts to collect evidence that will be used to prosecute and convict you.

1) Do not look at the officer any more than necessary. DUI drivers are inevitably described as having “red and watery eyes". If it is daytime, keep sunglasses on. Do not take them off it the officer asks you to remove them – just tell the officer “no".

2) Only crack your window slightly when speaking with the officer. They will attempt to smell your breath. Do not give them the chance.

3) Refuse to perform field sobriety tests (FSTs). If chemical test results later show sufficient BAC, the officer will ALWAYS write that you failed the tests. You are under no obligation to do FSTs, simply refuse. This may anger the officer, but only because he is trying to get evidence to prosecute and convict you, it is perfectly legal to refuse to do these tests.

4) Do not make any statements to the officer. Only give your name. In response to questioning, tell the officer you do not wish to make statements or you do not wish to speak with him. Do not talk about how much you have had to drink, where you are going, or make any small talk. The officer will write in his report that you had slurred speech. Only talk the absolute minimum necessary so he cannot make that observation.

5) Refuse PAS test. The officer will ask you to blow into a machine during the stop. You have no obligation to blow into this device. Simply refuse to do this test. (Note, you MUST complete the later chemical test after arrest – the blow machine or blood test at the police station).

6) Make the right choice about chemical testing. If you do not take a chemical test after arrest, you will loose your driver’s license. However, you do get to choose between breath and blood tests. If you choose blood, the test time may be delayed somewhat as the police must call a phlebotomist (person who draws blood) to the police station. This may result in a lower blood alcohol level at the time of the draw. However, there is a serious drawback – if there are any other substances other than alcohol, the blood test will reveal them (marijuana, Vicodin, etc.) – this will make the DUI much worse. Breath testing only tests alcohol.

Follow the above rules and you will have an excellent chance at beating your DUI!

Additional Resources

Forest Wilkerson, Esq. Wilkerson & Mulligan 78060 Calle Estado La Quinta, CA 92253 760-777-4322

Law Office of Forest Wilkerson

My DUI blog posts

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