As with all other states, driving is considered a privilege rather than a right in California. Once you obtain your license, you agree to adhere to specific traffic laws. Importantly, you also give implied consent to take a Breathalyzer test when suspected of impaired driving.
Nonetheless, you do have legal rights. Law enforcement is not allowed to target you arbitrarily. They are also not permitted to target you based on protected characteristics such as your race, ethnicity or religious background. For a traffic stop to be lawful, certain conditions must be met and this is also the case for a lawful arrest. Outlined below are a few things to keep in mind if you’re facing DUI charges.
Did the police have reason to stop you?
As mentioned, law enforcement is not allowed to target you in either an arbitrary or prejudicial manner. In short, they must have a valid reason to stop you. The standard of proof required for a traffic stop is referred to as reasonable suspicion. Running a red light, speeding and erratic driving are just some types of conduct that can satisfy the reasonable suspicion standard.
Were you charged based on more than a hunch?
The standard of proof is higher for the police to go on to arrest and charge you. If you are stopped and there is no evidence that you have been drinking, then you shouldn’t face DUI charges. If you have admitted to drinking, have alcohol on your breath or are struggling to talk without slurring your words, then officers could be within their right to charge you. This higher standard of proof is called probable cause.
Even if you are facing charges, it is up to the prosecution to prove your guilt beyond all reasonable doubt. To defend yourself against the accusations, make sure you seek some legal guidance.