Strategic Defense
From A Former Prosecutor

4 actions to avoid during a California DUI stop

On Behalf of | Nov 21, 2023 | Criminal Defense

It can be anxiety-inducing to suddenly find yourself pulled over by a police officer for any reason. DUI stops can be even more nerve-wracking.

When pulled over on suspicion of DUI, it is important to be calm and avoid certain actions.

1. Confessing

Do not admit to anything, especially consuming alcohol, or volunteer any unnecessary information. This is because anything you say can and probably will end up as evidence against you if you go to court. Exercise your constitutional right to remain silent and be succinct when you have to speak.

2. Refusing chemical tests

California has an implied consent law; by obtaining a driver’s license, you basically consented to undergo chemical tests if arrested. If the police arrest you, you cannot refuse a blood, breath or chemical test without legal consequences. Even if you are not under arrest, refusing can act against you in court later.

You can refuse a field sobriety test, a set of physical tests police may ask you to perform on the side of the road. This does not fall under the implied consent law. However, if you end up charged, you may later face license suspension for refusing.

3. Acting confrontationally

Maintaining a polite and cooperative demeanor is important because by doing so, you reinforce that you are not in an irrational state of mind and help avoid escalation. Respecting law enforcement officers and following their instructions can contribute to a smoother interaction overall.

4. Consenting to a vehicle search without cause

Law enforcement may request to search your vehicle, but you have the right to refuse if there is no probable cause. Politely assert your right to privacy and ask if you are free to leave. Consenting to a search without cause may jeopardize your legal rights.

According to the Stanford Open Policing Project, police pull over an average of over 50,000 individuals each day. It is not uncommon to find yourself pulled over on suspicion of DUI even if you have not had a drop of alcohol. Navigating a DUI stop in California requires caution. It is important to avoid incriminating yourself, escalating the situation or violating the law.