One thing that you may not realize when you are arrested for driving under the influence is that you have the right to remain silent and request a lawyer. Especially when a person has been drinking, exercising the right to silence may be both difficult and important.
Police can misinterpret what a DUI suspect says and what they mean, leading to more intense legal consequences than would otherwise occur.
What if you’re pulled over on suspicion of DUI? Does this mean that you should not speak at all? When you think about it, this scenario does not seem like it would go over well with the police and the last thing you want to do is aggravate the officer. Below, we’ll explain what to do.
California Supreme Court Rules in People vs. Tom
Recently, the California Supreme Court ruled in People vs. Tom that a person who remains silent after being stopped by police in connection with a DUI can have their silence used against them in court.
The prosecution argued that because the defendant did not make inquiries into the status of the car he collided into, that he expressed a reckless disregard for his actions.
This trial now has the potential to be used in other DUI cases to show that those who do not speak to law enforcement are admitting their guilt.
Meaning, if you are stopped on suspicion of DUI, you have to expressly invoke your Fifth Amendment right to silence or else silence can be used against you. This is important to remember if you ever find yourself in the situation down the road.
Our Advice to You
Attorney Virginia L. Landry has worked with many clients who’ve said or done incriminating things during a DUI stop and/or arrest, as it’s human nature to say or do the wrong thing when people are nervous!
Aside from invoking your right to remain silent and having representation, we recommend that anyone stopped under suspicion of DUI:
- Be polite to the officer
- When asked, give your name and driver’s license to the officer
- Politely decline to perform the Standardized Field Sobriety Test
Once the officer approaches your vehicle, he or she is evaluating for a DUI and they are closely watching for signs of impairment. Officers are specially trained to get as much information as possible, quickly and efficiently so they can build a DUI and DMV case against you.
“They use their senses of sight, smell and hearing and build on their observations. Their bias will be that you are ‘impaired’ if you do not complete them to their total satisfaction,” says Attorney Virginia L. Landry.
“If you are on probation for a prior DUI or under the age of 21, you must agree to a pre-arrest chemical test requested by a police officer who has lawfully detained you,” according to Attorney Landry.
“Otherwise, politely decline to take any pre-arrest testing. Unless you are completely alcohol and/or drug free, just say 'No thank you' when asked to voluntarily demonstrate your agility."
Arrested for DUI in Orange County? Call us today!
The Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. is your first line of defense when you have been arrested on suspicion of DUI in Orange County. If you have been stopped for driving under the influence, give our offices a call to speak with an experienced DUI attorney today.