If you’re being stopped by police for a DUI in the state of California, the first thing you should do is slow down and pull over. Turn off the car, and roll down your window. Keep your hands where the officer can see them, preferably on the steering wheel.
When the officer asks for your license and registration, be sure to remain calm and refrain from making any sudden movements when handing them over. It may be because you are nervous, but you don’t want the officer to think you may be a threat.
Remember to remain respectful and polite, even if the officer is not – and even if you end up being arrested. Being rude or insubordinate can only hurt your case and your defense strategy.
You Have the Right to Remain Silent
You may be tempted to chat up the officer in the hopes of getting in his good graces. Or perhaps you’re just a nervous talker. But it is important to remember that the officer is not your friend. He is trained to ask you questions that are designed to get you to incriminate yourself. Plus, he wouldn’t have taken the time to pull you over unless he thought there existed the possibility to make an arrest.
While you may think it’s a good idea to tell the officer that “yes, I’ve had a few beers, but it’s okay because my house is right down the road”…it’s not okay. Now the officer has a reason to test your BAC (blood alcohol content). And, in the state of California, if you have a BAC of 0.08%, then you are intoxicated as defined by the law, and the officer is within his rights to arrest you.
Here at the Simmrin Law Group, we have an experienced legal team that is well equipped to handle every kind of DUI case in the state of California. Let us help you start planning your defense with a FREE consultation.
Answering a Direct Question
Of course, while you now know not to make small talk with the officer, he will still ask you direct questions. In that case, how should you respond? Consider some of the more frequently asked questions, and their appropriate responses, below:
“Do you know why I pulled you over?”
Don’t ask something incriminating, like “because I was speeding?” Instead, say something like “No, officer, can you please tell me?”
“Have you had a drink today?”
Most people who have been drinking will try to undersell it. They’ll say something like “yes, but I only had two beers at a party a few hours ago.” Now you have not only admitted that you’ve been drinking, but you also gave the officer a timeline to work with. Now he’s going to assume that you were even drunker while driving than you are now. Instead, politely refuse to answer his question, saying something like “I’d rather not answer any questions, Officer. Am I free to go?”
“How much have you had to drink today?”
This question is a set-up because the officer is already assuming that you are intoxicated. Even admitting that you had one glass of wine with lunch is admitting to drinking. Instead, say something like, “I’m sorry, Officer, but what lead you to believe that I had been drinking?”
The takeaway here is to never admit to anything. Ever. The second you admit to something, the harder it will be to defend your case. However, even if you have admitted to drinking, we here at the Simmrin Law Group can help provide you with the best possible defense and possibly reduce the charges against you.
Field Sobriety Tests and the PAS Test
You may be surprised to learn that you do not need to perform a field sobriety test. In fact, you should outright refuse it. Field sobriety tests include the standing-on-one-leg test, the follow-my-finger test, and the walk-and-turn test, among others. Even sober people have been known to fail these tests. While you think it may hurt your case not to do them, it actually hurts your case to agree to them. You may be arrested for refusing to do them, but your lawyer will be able to make a stronger case for you.
You should also refuse to take the PAS test, which is a breathalyzer test. The only two situations in which you must agree to take the PAS test are:
- If you are under the age of 21, or
- You are already on a DUI probation.
If neither of these situations apply to you, then you are free to refuse the test. And you don’t have to explain your reasons for declining either. Decline to take the tests, and decline to provide explanations, but always remain polite while doing so.
However, the field sobriety tests you should agree to are those that are administered after you are arrested, such as blood, urine, and breath tests. If you do not agree to these post-arrest tests, only then can you be penalized, and your case will suffer as a result.
If you have already submitted to a field sobriety test, or if you received a negative result on a post-arrest test, our lawyers at the Simmrin Law Group can help. Give us a call today for a FREE consultation, with no obligation to retain, to find out what your next steps should be.
Don’t Let a DUI Ruin Your Life!
A DUI conviction can have serious consequences that affect both your personal and professional life. You don’t have to fight these charges alone. Our Los Angeles criminal defense law firm is here for you, free of judgment and with enough experience to handle any DUI case in the state of California. Call or email us today for a FREE consultation.