A California DUI charge is a serious charge that can cost you tens of thousands of dollars, and can make getting your dream job difficult - if not impossible. Here are five things you can do before you ever get stopped to decrease the odds you will be arrested for DUI after being stopped in California.
All DUI arrests are based off what courts call the "Totality of the Circumstances." Simply put, it means that looking at everything the police officer knows at the time, did he have probable cause to believe you committed a crime? Officer's and Court's look at the smallest things to give them any indication of whether you were impaired at the time you were stopped.
Following these 5 pieces of advice will lower your chances of being arrested, and will increase your chances of being found not guilty if you are arrested.
- Act normal. When you first see the police lights you should carefully turn on your turn signal to let the officer know that you see him and are planning on pulling over safely. You should then find a suitable area and pull over. Slamming on the breaks, failure to respond after you see the officer's lights, and stopping suddenly can cause the officer to believe you may be impaired.
- Stay in your car until told otherwise. Some people will get out of their car immediately after stopping and attempt to walk back to the police car. Most police want you to stay in your car. They are worried about your safety from passing motorist, and they are concerned about your intentions. It's better for you to remain in your vehicle until the officer asks you to step out. Your doing so will put him more at ease and decrease the likelihood of escalating a simple car stop into a bigger investigation.
- Don't chew gum. One sign that officer's are trained to look for is whether someone is using "cover-ups" such as gum, mints, or breath sprays. We all know that drinking alcohol leaves the odor of alcohol on your breath for some time afterwards. If you've only had a drink or two, that odor will be a faint, or weak, odor. Adding a stick of gum or breath mint to your mouth as the officer approaches, however, sends up a huge red flare, and increases the chances you will be investigated for DUI.
- Keep your papers close. It is a good idea to have your driver's license, proof of insurance, and vehicle registration ready for the officer when he arrives. It is a bad idea, however, for you to start searching through your glove box, or other compartments to find this paperwork. Keep it all in a single location where it is easily retreivable. This will shorten the amount of time the officer has to spend standing at your car window waiting on your documents; and, probably shorten the length of time he spends with you overall.
- Remember what your momma taught you. Remember when your mom told you that if you don't have something nice to say, then don't say anything at all. Well, use that rule when you are stopped. People who are intoxicated are usually thought to be more aggressive. If you are aggressive when you get stopped the officer may misintrepret that aggression as intoxication and you may end up with an undeserved DUI.
It is, of course, never a good idea to drive while you are intoxicated. The average persons BAC will rise or fall about .02 per hour according to some studies. If you are out drinking it is a good idea for you to take a taxi or arrange for a ride from a friend. If the officer smells the odor of alcoholic beverage on your breath, you will likely be asked to perform field sobriety tests. These tests are entirely voluntary and you should always politely refuse to submit to these tests on the side of the road, or in the police station.
If you do get arrested, contact us immediately for a free, no obligation case evaluation. Our attorneys have years of experience in defending people charged with a DUI, and can defend you too! Call us right now!