If you get stopped for a DUI do you know what your rights and responsibilities are? This page should help you if you find yourself in that situation. As a Laguna Beach DUI Lawyer Virginia L. Landry has represented several people who were stopped without understanding what the officer was looking for, and how to legally protect themselves after they were arrested.
When an officer first sees your vehicle he will begin carefully evaluating every driving action you take. He will look at how you respond when he turns on his overhead lights, whether you use a turn signal to indicate you are pulling over, and whether you pulled over in a safe manner.
When the officer first approaches your vehicle and begins talking to you after stopping you he will pay attention to any odors he smells when you first roll down your window, whether your clothes appear "disheveled," and how you speak. If you fail to answer his questions, your speech is slurred, or you appear angry he will note these things in his report as support of his probable cause to arrest you.
Officers typically as you where you are coming from, headed to, whether you consumed any alcohol, and whether you are on any medications. If you admit coming from an area known for bars, courts and juries may believe the officer had reasonable suspicion to administer the field sobriety tests on you.
You are not required to answer these questions when you are stopped. You are not, however, allowed to lie to the officer. If you lie, and the officer can prove it, you may face additional charges.
It is better for you to politely decline to answer any of the officer's questions about your alcohol consumption, travel itinerary, or other questions unrelated to the reason you were stopped. Since you are not under arrest yet, the officer does not have to read you the Miranda Warning.
If you find the officer asking you a number of questions unrelated to the reason you were stopped you have the right to ask to call Laguna Beach DUI Lawyer Virginia L. Landry. The officer may or may not permit you to make that call, but even by asking you may preserve certain legal rights and defenses if you are later arrested.
After the officer has a reasonable suspicion that you have been drinking he will probably ask you to step out and perform some field sobriety tests. These tests are voluntary. You are not required by California law to perform these tests. Your refusal to perform them may result in less favorable sentencing if you are convicted, but performing them will give the State evidence to use against you in court.
After you either refuse to perform the field tests, or you perform the tests unsatisfactorily in the eyes of the officer, you will be arrested. If you ignored the advice given above, and answered the officer's questions, or you were talking to the officer prior to your arrest, you should immediately stop talking. Everything you say will be used against you in court.
When you are taken to the police station for breath testing you should immediately ask to call Laguna Beach DUI lawyer Virginia L. Landry. There are pros and cons to submitting a breath sample. Ultimately, it is your decision whether to take the breath test. Testing under .08 BAC does not mean you will be released from police custody. Instead, you may be further investigated for drugs or charged anyway.