Five tips if you are pulled for DUI in Southern California

Being stopped on suspicion of DUI is a scary experience, even if you not impaired.  While you should always comply with the law, here are a few tips if you are pulled over under suspicion of DUI in California.

  1. The officer is conducting an investigation.
    • When you are first stopped the officer will work to gather objective facts that will help him or her make a determination as to whether you have violated the law. So everything you do and say will be evaluated and potentially used against you.  If you say “I had 6 drinks,” you can be sure that will go in the report.  Similarly, if you have bloodshot eyes, or the car smells like beer, that will be used against you too.
  2. Field Sobriety Tests are not your friend.
    • Many people think that if they “ace” the field sobriety tests they will get out of a potential DUI. Taking into account point one above, field sobriety tests (FSTs) are really just a way for an officer to identify more objectively identifiable facts of your potential intoxication. These tests are filled with very specific instructions and your failure to follow those instructions to down to the letter will create more evidence of your alleged intoxication.
  3. If you fail to take a breath or blood alcohol test you in California your license will be revoked for a year or more.
    • So while refusing to partake in FSTs may have no direct legal ramifications for you, refusing to provide a breath or blood sample of your blood alcohol level certainly will. Just know, that if you refuse a test, there are serious consequences. See California Vehicle Code Section 23612.
  4. Sleeping in your car when intoxicated could lead to a DUI.
    • California requires movement of the vehicle for a DUI conviction to stick.  However, depending on the specifics, you could be cited for DUI if you are parked and asleep at the wheel when intoxicated. There are factors the prosecutor, and fact-finder will look at to deterimine whether to file charges and whether to convict you.  For example, if you are pulled over alone on the side of Interstate-5 that is pretty strong circumstantial evidence that you drove the vehicle there. Tagging off of point one above, if you admit to the officer that you recently drove the vehicle, that, obviously, would be sufficient evidence too.  So, even though California requires evidence that the vehicle was volitionally operated, sleeping in a parked vehicle while intoxicated could still lead to charges being issued, whether they ultimately result in a conviction will depend on the specifics of your case.
  5. The best way to avoid a DUI is to never drive when impaired.
    • Simple advice for sure, but the best way to avoid a DUI is not to drive a vehicle when impaired.  Today, there are alternatives like Uber, Lyft, cabs, and even sober ride services that drive you and your car home at no charge.  There is no reason to get a DUI if you plan ahead, or are willing to spend a little money to get a ride home.  In the moment you may think a $50 taxi ride is expensive but a DUI is magnitudes more expensive when you factor in the thousands in court fees, fines, attorneys fees, and the increase in your vehicle insurance premiums going forward

Each case is different, if you have been arrested for DUI contact us for a free consultation.