As a driver, you have rights if you are pulled over and arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI). It’s important to understand and remember these rights, as exercising them may have an impact on any DUI charges and their outcome.
While the facts and circumstances of each DUI case are different, we can offer helpful tips regarding your rights – and responsibilities – in regards to DUI arrests in Orange County and throughout California.
- You have the right to refuse field sobriety tests. You can politely refuse to take field sobriety tests, though you can still be arrested for DUI if the officer believes you were driving under the influence. In the event of a DUI arrest, the officer will not have your performance on field sobriety tests in his or her arsenal of evidence against you.
- You have the right to not answer questions about drinking. The officer may ask you questions about where you were and how much you have had to drink. The purpose of these questions is to gather sufficient evidence to establish probable cause for your arrest. You can politely refuse to answer such questions, but you should comply with an officer's request for your license and registration and should be polite and cooperative in your dealings with the officer. If you are rude or physically resist an officer, you may face charges for resisting arrest.
- You have the right to refuse a roadside breath test. If you are pulled over for DUI, the officer may ask you to perform a Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) test. If you have not been arrested or taken into custody, you have the right to refuse this portable test.
- You have the right to be informed of the consequences of refusing a chemical test. If you’re arrested for DUI and asked to take a breath test or blood test, you have the right to know the consequences of refusing such a test. In California, you may face license suspension for refusing a breath or blood test after a DUI arrest. You should be informed of this fact so you can make an informed decision when asked to take a test.
- You have the right to know why you’re being arrested. When a person is apprehended by the police, he or she has a right to know why the arrest is taking place. If you are taken into custody, the arresting officer has an obligation to tell you why this is occurring.
- You have the right to be informed of your rights. When arrested, you should be given the Miranda warning, which is a basic description of your rights when in the custody of law enforcement. The arresting officer should inform you that you have the right to remain silent and that you have the right to an attorney. The officer should also verify that you understand these rights.
- You have the right to remain silent. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do can be used against you in a court of law, and this is why it’s essential for you to be informed of this right at the time of a DUI arrest.
- You have the right to an attorney. You have the right to an attorney if you are taken into custody for DUI; you do not have to submit to questioning without your attorney present.