Even when a driver is following the laws, seeing police lights in your rearview mirror can fill you will anxiety. Even the safest drivers double-check their speed, and think about if they might have missed a sign or light, or wonder about their registration. The anxiety can increase greatly once a police officer suggests you may be impaired.
It is important to understand your rights and the practical reality of how to deal with a DUI traffic stop in the East Bay. Just because you are following the rules does not mean the police won't arrest you. It is also important to understand the right time to challenge any unlawful police actions. Don't fight your case on the roadside, fight your case in court with the help of an experienced East Bay DUI defense lawyer.
You Really Don't Have to Say Anything!
It does not come naturally to many of us to be silent in the face of false accusations or when questioned by an authority figure. Your first reaction may be to plead your innocence, deny any false statements about your, or simply apologize when you are not even sure you did anything wrong!
There are two primary reasons why you may want to remain silent--yes, totally silent--during a traffic stop. The first reason is that because anything you say can be used to justify an arrest. The second reason is because you have the constitutional right to remain silent.
The right to remain silent is not exactly the same as the Miranda warnings that we know from TV and movies. A Miranda warning tells suspects about their rights to a lawyer and their rights against self-incrimination before an interrogation.
The reason you may want to remain silent is that the police may focus on any inconsistencies, even if you make a mistake, to justify a further investigation, detention, or arrest. For example, if the police ask how much you've been drinking and you say you didn't drink anything, the smell of alcohol from your vehicle may give them a basis to make an arrest, even if they are ultimately wrong.
Do Not Give a Preliminary Breath Sample
A Preliminary Alcohol Screening test (PAS) uses the handheld device to test a driver's BAC on the roadside. This is not the same as the chemical test required after an arrest. A PAS is not mandatory (except for under-21 drivers and drivers on probation for a DUI). There are no consequences for refusing a PAS.
PAS devices are not as accurate as other chemical testing devices and may give false indications that the driver is over the limit.
Do Not Do the Field Sobriety Tests
Standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs) are not mandatory and they are not always accurate. These tests can make a sober driver appear impaired and be used by police to justify a DUI arrest. There are a number of reasons that someone could “fail” one of these tests that are totally unrelated to alcohol or drugs, including medical problems, medications, physical ability, and even the wrong shoes.
Have an Advocate on Your Side
The best way to protect yourself after a DUI traffic stop can be to contact a DUI defense lawyer who understands the local courts and is familiar with the judge in your case and the police department that made the arrest.
A DUI defense lawyer understands the science behind DUI tests and is up-to-date on criminal DUI laws in California. Making a phone call to your East Bay DUI defense lawyer can put you at ease to learn that you have options to challenge your charges and fight to keep a clean record and keep your license to drive.
East Bay DUI Traffic Stop Attorney
East Bay attorney Lynn Gorelick has more than 35 years of DUI experience, and understands drivers' concerns about a DUI arrest and criminal charges. Representing drivers in Contra Costa and Alameda County, Lynn Gorelick is familiar with the local DUI laws, and the local officers and prosecutors in your case. Contact East Bay DUI lawyer Lynn Gorelick today.