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Orange County: 714-541-1155

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San Diego: 619-381-4859

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What to Do When You Are Pulled Over for a DUI in California

Posted on Oct 3rd, 2023 by Super User 2604 Views

DUI is among the leading causes of dangerous road accidents in California. For that reason, the police are always vigilant, looking for and arresting any motorist operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The police use all kinds of strategies to keep public road users safe. For example, they conduct random DUI checks on motorists suspected of operating under the influence.

If the police pull you over for DUI, they already suspect you of driving while intoxicated. In that case, you need to know what to do and not do to avoid implicating yourself and complicating your situation further. The officer will likely conduct a DUI investigation before making an arrest. How you conduct yourself during this preliminary investigation can impact the outcome of your situation. Here are some of the tips that could help you through the investigation process and even after your arrest:

Slow Down and Stop the Vehicle

If a police officer flags you down, you must slow down and stop the vehicle. Find a safe place to stop where you will not impede traffic. Once you have stopped, turn off your engine and open your window. You could keep your hands on the steering wheel, where the police can see them. Remember that the officer is only doing their job. Thus, do not show irritation, even in a hurry. If you cooperate, the investigation could only take a few minutes, and you will be on your way.

Do not initiate the conversation with the officer. Allow the police to do their job by listening and cooperating with their request. The officer could first request to see your driver’s license and vehicle registration. Hand over the documents calmly. Do not make sudden movements when looking for or handing over the documents that could make the officer fear for their safety. Though you could be nervous, the last thing you want is for a police officer to suspect you are threatening their safety.

Be polite and respectful, even if the police officer is not. Remain respectful even if the officer places you under arrest. You could hurt your situation if you are insubordinate or rude.

Remain Calm

It is challenging to remain calm when the police pull you over and you have probably consumed a few drinks or drugs. But the officer will be watching your behavior throughout your interaction. Your behavior and body language could give the officer probable cause for arrest. That is why you must remain calm. Calmly answer all the questions the officer asks you. Do not try to defend yourself or fault the officer’s decision to pull you over.

By remaining calm, you communicate to the officer that you are in complete control of all your senses and can make rational decisions on the road. Being irritable, defensive, or evasive with the officer could indicate guilt and result in an arrest.

Remember that your goal after the police pull you over for DUI is to avoid doing anything that could arouse the officer’s suspicion. Hand over all the documents the officer will request calmly, and keep the conversation to a minimum. Do not volunteer any information or strike up a conversation with the officer. The more you talk, the more likely you are to incriminate yourself.

Remember that being stopped for a DUI does not automatically mean you are under arrest. The officer will decide whether or not to arrest you based on their findings after the initial investigation.

Exercise Your Right To Remain Silent

The police can be intimidating and make you nervous, especially if you have had a drink or two before being pulled over for DUI. You will be tempted to chat with the officer, hoping to obtain their favor. Some people simply talk more when they are nervous. But that will be the time to remember your right to remain silent when speaking to the police. The police are known to twist what you say and use it against you in court.

Remember that the officer is not on your side at that moment. If they suspect you of DUI, they will do everything possible to obtain probable cause to arrest you. Additionally, officers are trained to ask questions in different ways to obtain information you are hiding or unwilling to give. You can easily incriminate yourself when you start volunteering information. Also, the officer would not have stopped you (except at a designated DUI checkpoint) if they did not have a reason to suspect you of DUI.

It could seem like a good idea to admit to the officer that you only had one or two drinks before being stopped, but that will give them a reason to arrest you. An admission of guilt will also be compelling evidence against you during the trial.

Ask to call your lawyer once the officer starts questioning you. Only provide information once you have a lawyer present.

Learn How To Answer Direct Questions

Even as you exercise your right to remain silent, the officer will ask direct questions to determine how you answer. It is crucial to answer the officer’s questions, albeit carefully, to avoid implicating yourself.

For example, the officer can ask you if you know why they stopped you. Even if you know that they stopped you for DUI or because you committed a traffic infraction like speeding or running a red light, do not answer. You could respond neutrally by asking the officer why they stopped you.

The officer could also ask if you had been drinking or how much you had to drink that day. If it is true that you have been drinking, you could be tempted to undersell it by mentioning fewer drinks than you have had. For example, saying that you only had two drinks a while ago when, in fact, you had more than that. If you answer that, you will admit to drinking and even give the officer a timeline to work with. It is advisable not to answer such direct questions. You can politely tell the officer you would rather not respond and then ask if you can go.

The officer could also ask how much you had to drink. The question already shows that the officer knows you are drunk or drugged. Admitting to having only one drink is an admission of guilt and can be used against you during the trial. Instead of directly answering the question, you could ask the officer why they believe you have been drinking.

Your aim should never be to admit anything. If, by accident, you confess to drinking or using drugs, you could have a hard time defending yourself in the trial.

You Can Decline Field Sobriety Tests

After checking your license and registration and establishing how you answer questions, the officer can ask you to step out of your vehicle. They will do so if they still suspect you of operating under the influence. While outside your vehicle, the officer can ask you to perform some tasks to determine how well, or otherwise, your coordination is.

The DMV designs field sobriety tests to determine whether or not motorists are driving while intoxicated. The tests comprise a few tasks an officer asks a driver to perform. For example, take a few steps ahead on a straight line and the same number of steps back on the same line. The officer could also ask you to stand on one leg for a few seconds to test your stability. Failing a field sobriety test could indicate that you are intoxicated and give the officer probable cause to arrest you.

Most people fail sobriety tests, even when they are sober. Several factors determine how you perform in these tests, including weather conditions and the condition of the ground or environment where you are taking the tests. Thus, passing the test is not always guaranteed, however sober you feel.

The good news is that you can decline field sobriety tests. You will not face criminal charges for declining to take the tests. To avoid giving the officer a solid reason to arrest you, politely decline to take the tests and ask them if you are free to leave.

You Can Decline a PAS Test

In addition to field sobriety tests, the officer can request that you take a PAS test to determine the level of alcohol in your blood. The police use breathalyzers to determine the amount of alcohol a driver has in their system. The test results will incriminate you if your BAC result is high. Fortunately, you can decline the PAS test too. The law does not require you to submit to any tests until after your arrest.

But there are instances where you must take a PAS test before a DUI arrest. For example, if you are an underage driver, you must submit to BAC testing upon request by law enforcement. California has a zero-tolerance law that forbids underage drivers (below 21 years old) to drive even with a slight amount of alcohol in their system.

You must also submit to a PAS test before arrest if you are on DUI probation. One of the conditions the judge gives while sending a driver on DUI probation is that they submit to regular tests by police to determine their BAC.

If you are not on DUI probation or an underage driver, you can politely refuse the officer’s request to take a PAC test. Do not explain if the officer asks why you are not taking the test. Remember that the more you talk to the officer, the more likely you will say something incriminating.

Submit to Chemical Tests After an Arrest

Note that the officer can still arrest you regardless of how smart you act after being pulled over for DUI. If that happens, it is necessary to remain calm. Allow the officer to do their job with zero interference on your part. Understand your rights and take note of everything that happens after your arrest.

The officer will likely request that you take a chemical test after a DUI arrest. You must submit to this particular test because failing to do so is a crime. You could refuse tests before a DUI arrest, but you cannot refuse them after an arrest. The officer will likely take your breath. They will take a blood or urine sample if the breath test fails to provide the required results or if you cannot give a breath test. Even if you are unsure of the likely outcomes, cooperating is essential to avoid facing additional charges.

The penalties for declining to take a chemical test after arrest depend on the underlying DUI charge. For example, if it is your first DUI arrest, you could receive an additional 48 hours in jail for chemical test refusal after your conviction. If it is your third DUI, you could receive up to ten days more on your jail sentence.

Understand Your Rights

Understanding your rights throughout the DUI process is necessary to protect yourself against self-incrimination. The police are known to violate people’s rights to gather quick evidence. For example, the officer can decline to read your Miranda rights after your arrest, a vital requirement. If the officer violates any of your rights, do not defend yourself. Make sure your attorney finds out about it soon enough. A violation of your rights will work in your favor during the trial.

For example, suppose the officer does not explain your right to remain silent and proceeds to question you. In that case, your attorney can compel the judge to dismiss any evidence the officer gathered after the violation. You must only answer the officer’s questions in the presence of your attorney. If you cannot afford one, the prosecutor must assign a public defender to your case.

You also have a right to a speedy trial. The police must keep you in custody for only a short time before your first arraignment. When that happens, a skilled attorney can compel the judge to dismiss your charges.

Thus, it is vital to take note of everything that happens right after the police pull you over for a DUI. Explain everything that happened to your attorney.

Hire an Attorney

If the police have probable cause to arrest you for DUI, they will do so after the initial investigation. You need to protect yourself and your rights, so you must hire an attorney. Once the officer reads your Miranda rights, you can call your attorney or ask for a public defender if you cannot afford a private attorney. You must choose the right attorney regarding skills and experience for a favorable outcome.

If you have an attorney in mind, you can contact them right after your arrest. It will be more beneficial to start the legal process with them. It will also give your attorney enough time to familiarize himself with your case for proper defense. You can request referrals from friends and family if you do not have an attorney. Research their background and read reviews about their service delivery before hiring them for the job.

You will need an attorney for all legal processes after a DUI arrest. For example, you will need their help and support during the initial hearing. That is when the judge will determine your bail eligibility and set the amount. Having an attorney on your side will ensure that you are considered for bail release and that your bail is fair. An aggressive attorney will even fight for a release on your recognizance.

If you cannot make bail, an attorney will ensure you understand your options to avoid missing out on the chance of obtaining a bail release. You need this to prepare for trial and to return to your life, at least before the conclusion of your case. A skilled attorney can advise you to consider bail bonds and even help you choose the best bail bondsman to work with.

Your attorney will act quickly to obtain evidence and prepare a solid defense against your charges. They will consider all kinds of defense strategies that could work in your favor and aggressively present them in court to compel the judge to rule fairly in your case. Your attorney will represent you in other areas, including during the DMV hearing, to defend your driver’s license.

Find Reliable Bail Bonds Near Me

Has the police stopped you for DUI in Temecula, and do you not know what to do or expect?

It always helps to be prepared for eventualities like these. But remaining calm, silent, and respectful could help your case, even if you were surprised. Understanding when to decline and submit to chemical tests is also essential. The guidance of a skilled attorney goes a long way toward ensuring a smooth process and a favorable outcome. If the officer arrests you, you could pay your bail to obtain a pretrial release almost immediately after your arrest. We have reliable, timely, and affordable bail bonds at Justice Bail Bonds. We offer our services around the clock to ensure you receive help exactly when needed. Call us at 714-541-1155 to learn more.

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For faster service please call 951-445-4155 24 hours a day, seven days a week if you or a loved one has been arrested and need to be bailed out quickly and confidentially or if you simply have questions regarding bail, an arrest, or inmate information please do not hesitate to call or fill out our contact us form. We are available 24/7 for all of your bail needs. 


For faster service please call 951-445-4155 24 hours a day, seven days a week if you or a loved one has been arrested and need to be bailed out quickly and confidentially or if you simply have questions regarding bail, an arrest, or inmate information please do not hesitate to call or fill out our contact us form. We are available 24/7 for all of your bail needs.