Law Offices of Gabriel H. Avina

Los Angeles Personal Injury and Criminal Defense Lawyers

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Monday, September 13, 2010

DUI Stop Tips

Just because you're stopped by a police officer, it doesn't mean you have no rights.  I know you're scared.  I would be.  After all, the officer is armed.  But the most important thing you can do is be calm.  Listen.  Listen carefully.  Everything you say and do at the stop will be used against you.

Thus, the following are tips that may seem obvious, but try remembering them after a few beers.  It won't be so easy.

1. Be Polite and Hand Over All Paperwork


As with any traffic stop, never be rude or sarcastic with police; there is no good that will come of it. A police officer is much more likely to let you off if your cooperative and polite.

2. Do Not Admit Guilt


The first question the police officer will ask is "Have you been drinking?" Almost everyone that drank a few beers will try to convince the officer of only one or two drinks.  Trust me, he doesn't believe you.  Furthermore, it will be used in court. Next time, tell the officer in a very kind way, "I'm sorry officer, but what I do in my private life is just that; private." I know you might think it sounds corny and stupid, but it's also true.

3. Answer Only Your Name and Required Information


It's important to provide as little information as possible to the police officer. While it may be difficult, it may be wise to simply say, "I want to talk to my lawyer before I answer any questions". The more information the officer can solicit, the stronger his/her case will be. Trust me, police officers are trained to begin building a case immediately. Every question asked is designed to solicit a response that can be used to help get a conviction.  And don't be fooled into thinking the officer wants to be your friend.  He doesn't.  He wants to make his job easier and thus, will occasionally embellish everything you say.

4. Refuse the Field Sobriety Tests


Again, it's difficult to refuse when a police officer asks for something, but these tests are completely involuntary in most states, and only serve to further the police officers case. Many people fail field sobriety tests even when they are completely sober, so there is no benefit to taking them.

5. Refuse the Field Sobriety Tests


Do, I repeat, DO TAKE a breath or blood test at the police station.  You should not take the preliminary breathalyzer test at the scene of the stop, but if you refuse to take it at the Police station after your arrest, you WILL lose your driver's license for up to one year.

6. Always Talk to a Lawyer


A DUI charge is a serious matter, and the penalties and consequences are continually getting tougher. Drivers license issues, jail, fines, community service, months of DUI school, employment problems, criminal record, a conviction carries with it serious implications. Anyone charged with a DUI should discuss their case with an attorney as soon as possible.

Having a DUI lawyer handle your case will ease the burden on you, and ensure your rights are protected and you have the best chance at beating the charge, or minimizing the penalties.

*For more information see our Criminal Defense page.

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