The best way to avoid being pulled over for driving under the influence (DUI) in Orange County is not to drive under the influence at all, but sometimes mistakes happen. Perhaps you were out at dinner with friends and had a little more to drink than you planned. Maybe you didn’t feel impaired from the alcohol but know that your BAC might be above .08% given what you had to eat and the amount of alcohol you consumed.
Perhaps you didn’t realize that having one or two drinks would impair your ability to drive because you had prescription medication in your system, which should not be combined with alcohol. In any case, you climbed behind the wheel and the next thing you knew, the red and blue lights were flashing in your rearview mirror.
Advice to Improve Your DUI Defense
Before panicking during a DUI stop, you should know there are steps you can follow to improve your chances of avoiding a DUI charge. While every driver must submit to a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test under California's implied consent law, or risk an automatic one-year license suspension, the types of testing and where these must be taken differ.
When stopped for DUI:
- Invoke your right to remain silent and refuse to answer any questions posed by the officer. Any information you admit to before being arrested still can be used against you in court. You should still be respectful to officers.
- Keep your hands on the wheel until you’re asked for your license and registration. Once asked, calmly gather your license, registration, and proof of insurance and give them to the officer since this is legally mandated.
- When asked if or how much you had to drink, politely decline to answer this question because anything you say, will be used against you in court.
- Decline to participate in field sobriety tests since these are not legally mandated and can only be used against you in court. These tests are often the officer's observations against the driver since there is no way to prove you performed poorly on this test in court.
- If you have had anything at all to drink, decline the roadside preliminary screening device that an officer may ask you to take since it is just another field sobriety test. This can prevent officers from having probable cause for arrest.
- Submit to a legally mandated breath test over a blood test, but only after an arrest.
When pulled over for DUI, the best thing that you can do is give law enforcement and the court as little to work off of as possible. By complying with the law but limiting the amount of information you provide to law enforcement, you can minimize the damages leveled against you in court.
If you or someone you love has been arrested for DUI and have questions about your arrest and case, contact a DUI lawyer from the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. for help.