From the very moment you are pulled over for a DUI, the police officer(s) are observing your behavior for signs consistent with intoxication. Therefore, it is extremely important that you remain as calm as humanly possible.
Be Nice and Cooperate
If you are stopped for a DUI, nothing you say or do will get you out of it. The police are going to do what they are going to do. Therefore, you might as well be nice, polite and cooperate. Rude, disruptive and argumentative behavior is more commonly associated with someone who is under the influence than someone who is sober. Coping an attitude is a one way ticket to jail. If you are polite with the police, the police will treat you better and write a better report.
Do Not Answer DUI-Related Questions
When you get stopped for a DUI, the officer will ask you for your driver's license and registration as well as some basic personal information such as name and date of birth. This information is ok to provide. However, the police will soon begin to ask you some more specific DUI related questions such as if, when and what you had to drink. Do NOT answer these questions! Politely tell the officer that you "have been advised not to answer these types of questions and would like to exercise your right not to do so." Don't be surprised if the police get upset. The fact is that anything you tell them will be used against you and will only serve to hurt your case.
Do Not Take the Field Sobriety Tests
Field Sobriety Tests (commonly referred to as "FSTs") are a series of balance and coordination tests used by police to help them determine if a person is under the influence. While the police will never tell you this, you have no legal obligation to perform the fields sobriety tests. Therefore, don't! Very nicely tell them that you do not want to take these tests. Don't be surprised if the police get upset or irritated. If they do, it is only because they will have less evidence to use to justify arresting you for a DUI.
Refuse to Take the Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) Test
If you are over 21 years old, you do not have to take the Preliminary Alcohol Screening test (commonly referred to as the "PAS" test). This is a hand-held breath test usually administered at the scene during the DUI investigation. Aside from being completely unreliable, you actually have the right to refuse this test even though the police will never tell you that.
Choose to Take the Post-DUI Arrest Breath Test
If you are arrested for a DUI, you should clearly advise the police officer that you WILL take the breath test at the police station. Under California's implied consent law, you are legally required to submit to either a breath or blood test. Failure to take a chemical test after you are arrested for a DUI will result in harsher penalties such as jail time and loss of your driver's license for up to one year. So why choose the breath test over the blood test? Generally, the breath test is not nearly as reliable as a blood test and further lends itself to more avenues of defense/attack.
Immediately Contact An Experienced DUI Lawyer
California DUI cases are very technical, fact specific matters that require a thorough and detailed analysis by a qualified DUI lawyer in order to properly assess your chances of success. Most experienced DUI lawyers offer free DUI case evaluations and, as such, you have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain by contacting one.
Request Your DMV Hearing ASAP!
There are two cases to every DUI case is California. There is 1) the court case and 2) the DMV case. From the moment you are arrested for a DUI, the clock starts ticking on your 10 day deadline to request your DMV hearing to prevent your license from being suspended automatically. Failure to contact the DMV within 10 days of the date of your arrest will result in the suspension of your driving privilege. Your DUI lawyer should do this for you if you hire one within the first 10 days of your arrest.
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