Any time you’re pulled over by police, it can be nerve-wracking, but especially if you’re the driver and the scent of alcohol is still on your breath. If your vehicle has been swerving or you show signs of impairment, the cops might very well arrest you for suspicion of driving under the influence.
It’s important you know the steps you can take to ensure the traffic stop has no exacerbating issues, and moreover, that you protect your rights:
- Don’t panic — try to remain as calm as possible
- Pull over to the side of the road at the next safe opportunity
- Stay in your vehicle unless police tell you to get out
- Keep your hands visible, and don’t make any suspicious movements
- Be polite with the police — don’t make the situation worse
- Cooperate reasonably, and follow directions
- Provide your license and vehicle registration when asked
- Be truthful, but be quiet if answering would incriminate you
- Don’t tell police about anything you had to drink — it won’t help
- Remember your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent
- Know anything you say or do police can and will hold against you
- You can refuse a roadside field sobriety test and Breathalyzer test, but your license will be suspended
After the stop, the officer may take you down to the police station. You may have to take a breath or blood test there. As soon as possible, you will want to contact your attorney, as well as try to remember to write down everything that happened during the arrest and investigation so far. Your observations may help your attorney build a defense against the DUI allegations if police violated their procedure.
If you’re facing DUI charges, don’t let it destroy your life. It’s important you protect your rights and have legal counsel with experience. A skilled attorney can see that you’re treated fairly under the laws of California.