11 Things to Know If You’re Stopped or Arrested for DUI

11 Things to Know If You’re Stopped or Arrested for DUI

  1. You must show your driver’s license and registration if you are stopped while driving an automobile. Upon request, show them your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance.
  2. When you are first contacted by police because they suspect you may be DUI, but before they have decided they enough evidence to arrest you for DUI, police may ask you to perform field sobriety exercises (stand on one leg, touch the tip of your nose with your eyes closed, etc.). You DO NOT have to perform these exercises and there is no penalty for not doing them.  Before an arrest, police may also ask you to blow into a portable breath testing device in order to measure the percentage of alcohol in your blood.  You DO NOT have to perform this test and either, and police are required to tell you that it is voluntary.  Performing these testsbefore you have been arrested only provides the police with evidence to use against you in court.  It is recommended that you do not volunteer to perform either of these pre-arrest tests.
  3. If police place you under arrest for DUI, California’s “implied consent law” law comes into play. The implied consent law basically says that when you drive a vehicle on California roads, you agree to consent to a chemical test if you are arrested for DUI.  The implied consent law states that you must be told that you have the choice of chemical tests to measure the percentage of alcohol in your blood.  These test options include a breath test or a blood test, and in certain cases, a urine test. Police are also required to tell you that you can refuse such tests, but if you refuse, police must tell you that your driving privilege will be suspended by the Department of Motor Vehicles and your refusal can be used against you in criminal court.
  4. You don’t have to consent to any search of yourself or your car. If you do consent to a search, it can affect your rights later in court. If the police say the arrest you on suspicion of a DUI they may have the right to search your car. Ask your lawyer if this applies in your case.
  5. If police come to your house and ask to speak to you because they think you may have recently driven while under the influence, you do not have to answer the door or go outside to speak to them. Police may try to trick you to come outside your house — or even to the doorway or porch — so they can arrest you or see you better to gather evidence that you have been drinking (like looking to see if your eyes are red or watery, whether you have alcohol on your breath and whether you  can walk steadily). Remember, your home is your castle.
  6. Do not interfere with, or obstruct the police — you can be arrested for it.
  7. Police may “pat-down” your clothing if they suspect a concealed weapon. Don’t physically resist, but make it clear that you don’t consent to any further search.
  8. If you are on DUI probation or under 21 year you have to submit to a roadside breath test.
  9. Don’t bad-mouth the police officer or run away, even if you believe what is happening is unreasonable. That could lead to your arrest.
  10. If you’re arrested or taken to a jail or police station, you have the right to remain silent and to talk to a lawyer before you talk to the police. You must tell the police things like your name, address, date of birth, etc, but if you are stopped for or arrested for DUI, you do not have to answer questions about whether and how much you have been drinking alcohol or drugs.  The less you say the better. The police will comment on your slurred speech.  Ask your lawyer questions, not the cops.
  11. Do not make any decisions in your case until you have talked with a DUI lawyer.