This year’s Labor Day weekend arrest numbers for DUI in California – no surprise – topped last year’s numbers. The California Highway Patrol arrested 1,226 drivers for driving under the influence in California over the Labor Day weekend this year compared to 1,168 arrests during the same weekend in 2014. In Orange County, the figure was 73 DUI arrests this year compared to 66 over the Labor Day weekend in 2014. If you’re charged with DUI in Orange County or anywhere in southern California, don’t try to be your own lawyer, and don’t accept any agreement or plea bargain before consulting with an experienced Orange County DUI defense lawyer.

With Labor Day gone and the holidays approaching, it’s that time of year when California’s police departments conduct more DUI checkpoints. Always be polite and courteous at a checkpoint, but be firm about your rights. After you’ve identified yourself and presented your license and registration documents, you aren’t required to answer questions – you have the right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney present during any questioning. Do not argue or be acrimonious – just be insistent and resolute. If you’re asked to submit to a breathalyzer or field sobriety test, you have the right to decline that test – and you should – unless you are under 21 or on probation for a previous DUI. Understand that your right to refuse a DUI test ends if you are placed under arrest – at that time, you must submit to a test if asked or face an additional criminal charge. And if the police ask for permission to search your vehicle, do not give your consent.

Whenever you drive, abstaining entirely from alcohol is the best strategy. However, if you are charged with DUI because you’ve made a bad judgment mistake – or if you’ve been falsely accused and you’re innocent – contact an experienced Orange County DUI defense quickly as possible. A good DUI lawyer can evaluate your case and offer the aggressive legal defense that’s right for you, but you must take the first step and make the call.