MacGregor & Collins, lLP Press How to Exercise Your Rights during A DUI Stop

How to Exercise Your Rights during A DUI Stop

By Randy Collins March 05, 2013

Anyone who is pulled over in the state of California for DUI has certain rights. California's laws state the following for drivers who may come under the suspicion of DUI:

The Right to Remain Silent

Drivers should provide certain information including their name, date of birth, residence, and other basic identifying information. In regards to answering questions about intoxication, the driver may refuse to answer such questions to avoid incrimination. In addition, officers are required to verbally state your right to remain silent upon a DUI arrest.

Request an Attorney

All individuals have the right to request an attorney. Ask to speak with a lawyer before refusing or accepting any chemical test. When a driver refuses a chemical test in California for instance, the result will be one year's automatic suspension of his or her driver's license. The driver will need to weigh the pros and cons to make the best decision. As an example, a fourth time DUI offender may be able to avoid a felony conviction by refusing the chemical test, and instead face life without a valid driver's license for one year. The circumstances may vary, and this is the reason why it's important to consult an attorney.

The Right to Deny FSTs or Field Sobriety Tests

Drivers over the age of 21 can refuse field sobriety tests including three standardized versions – the one-leg-stand, nystagmus and walk-and-turn. If you have been pulled over for DUI and are asked to take a field sobriety test, these are non-mandatory procedures that have no bearing of negative consequences – as is the case with chemical tests in California.

Search and Seizure Laws

Unless there is a substantial cause to search a vehicle for drug possession or the presence of alcohol, the law allows drivers the right to politely decline an invasive search of their vehicles by law enforcement who are adamant to do so. In this instance, a lawyer can also be requested.

Other Steps during DUI Stops

In addition to these rights, there are other key steps a driver can take to avoid self-incrimination. As another example, the officer will typically observe drivers' behavior, speech and physical capabilities during a stop. Nervousness can lead to a host of behaviors including slurred speech, a delay in finding one's license, registration or insurance, or when answering simple questions. As such, many criminal defense lawyers advise clients to remain calm, remain silent, and get to know your rights when caught in this intimidating process.

Written by Randy Collins

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