If you’re charged with DUI in California, it’s possible to win in court; an experienced DUI defense attorney is familiar with several strategies that can lead to acquittal. What’s far easier and more convenient, however, is to avoid being charged with DUI in the first place. Here are several tips for avoiding DUI:
- If you’re planning to have a drink or two, it’s never a bad idea to take a taxi. You can’t be charged with DUI if you aren’t driving.
- Whenever you are signaled by a police officer to pull over, do so promptly and cautiously, then roll down your window and place your hands on the steering wheel. This indicates compliance and can sometimes pacify an aggressive officer.
- Whenever you drive, be certain that you know precisely where you’ve put your license, registration, and proof of insurance. In DUI cases, an arresting officer typically testifies that a defendant “fumbled” for his or her license or registration. Law enforcement then uses “fumbling” as evidence of impairment. Try to avoid anything that looks like “fumbling.”
- You are not required to answer a police officer’s questions. Often an officer will ask, “Do you know why you are being pulled over?” Offer no admission of any kind; simply smile and say, “No, officer. Why?” Law enforcement officers are gathering evidence, and the less they get, the stronger your defense is.
- Politely decline if a police officer asks you to submit to a test or a series of tests. You have this right. Always refuse to take a breathalyzer test; breathalyzers are notoriously unreliable and they invariably measure a defendant’s blood alcohol content level as higher than it actually is. With no statement from you and no test, a police officer has no evidence, so he or she may persist or even bully you regarding testing. Don’t budge; continue to politely decline to submit to testing.
- At this point you will probably be cuffed, arrested, and hauled “downtown.” Now you will be required to take a breathalyzer exam or a blood test; refusal to take either after an arrest will lead to what law enforcement calls a “forced” blood test and to suspension of your driver’s license for a year. Go ahead and take the blood test now; an experienced DUI defense attorney can attack the test results later, in court.
- If you’re charged and arrested for DUI, you’ll get a pink slip of paper, a DS-367. It says that you or your DUI defense lawyer must arrange within 10 days a hearing to determine if your driver’s license will be suspended. Missing the deadline means an automatic license suspension.
In short, don’t drink and drive, don’t drive carelessly, and don’t talk to police officers. Try to avoid a DUI charge; follow the advice outlined above, especially tips 1, 2, and 3. If you do end up being charged with DUI, obtain the services of an experienced DUI defense attorney immediately. A good DUI defense lawyer will help you gather evidence and witnesses, dispute blood test results, and will work hard to have your DUI charge reduced or dismissed.