Stopped for a DUI in California? Here's what you should do.
Everyday I read police reports for California DUI arrests where drivers do exactly what they shouldn't when stopped by law enforcement on suspicion of driving under the influence. When I advise my clients of what they did wrong, they inevitably ask, "What should I have done?"
Keep your Mouth ShutThe 5th Amendment only helps if you use it. You never need to speak with law enforcement. Don't provide them with anything that they might be able to use against you. For example, they might ask if you've been drinking or they might ask where you're coming from. This is information they'll use to justify an arrest and help the prosecutor build a case. Simply respond with, "I'm sorry officer, but my attorney has advised me to respectfully decline to answer any questions under my 5th Amendment right to remain silent."
Refuse Field Sobriety TestsField sobriety tests are OPTIONAL. Never volunteer to perform them. Not only are they incredibly inaccurate, but the officer will interpret your performance as a "failure" regardless of how you actually performed. Refusing the field sobriety tests limits the amount of incriminating evidence that law enforcement use to justify an arrest and that prosecutors can use in court.
Refuse the Pre-Arrest Roadside BreathalyzerOfficers will request that you submit to a pre-arrest roadside breathalyzer called a "Preliminary Screening Alcohol (PAS)" test. This is an OPTIONAL test. Respectfully decline to provide a breath sample for any pre-arrest breath test. The key is pre-arrest.
However, if the officer has lawfully arrested someone, then and only then must that person submit to a post-arrest test which can either be breath or a blood test. This is mandatory and refusing it can subject a person to additional penalties.
Like the previous sections, providing a pre-arrest breath sample only provides the officer with the evidence they need to arrest you and the prosecutor the information they need to prove you guilty.