DUI is a serious offense occurring when a person operates a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It is not only illegal, but it is also dangerous, as impaired drivers are more likely to cause accidents and injuries on the road. In California, the penalties for a conviction can be severe, including fines, license suspension, and imprisonment. Additionally, a conviction can have long-term consequences, such as increased insurance rates and difficulty finding employment.
Being stopped on suspicion of DUI can be a stressful and intimidating experience. Police officers are trained to detect signs of impairment. They may administer various assessments, such as field sobriety or breathalyzer tests, to determine whether a driver violated the law. The prospect of being arrested and facing the consequences of a DUI conviction can be overwhelming, especially for first-time offenders.
This blog will provide a guide to what happens when you are stopped on suspicion of DUI. It will cover what to expect during a stop, the potential conviction consequences, and what to do if you are arrested.
What to Expect During a DUI Stop
Knowing what to expect during the stop is essential if an officer pulls you over on suspicion of DUI in California.
If the officer suspects that you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they may conduct a series of tests to determine your level of intoxication. These assessments may include field sobriety tests, which assess your balance, coordination, and ability to follow instructions.
Examples of field sobriety tests include the following:
- Walking in a straight line
- Standing on one leg
- Touching your nose with your finger
Another standard test is the breathalyzer, which measures the amount of alcohol in your breath.
Remain calm and polite during the stop, even if you're nervous or scared. Avoid making any sudden movements, and follow the officer's instructions carefully. Remember that anything you say or do during the stop could be used as evidence against you, so it's vital to cooperate without incriminating yourself.
Potential Consequences of a DUI Charge
The consequences of a DUI charge can be severe and long-lasting. First, you may face fines, license suspension, and even jail time, depending on the severity of the offense and your criminal history. These consequences can have a significant impact on your personal and professional life.
For example, a DUI conviction can result in losing your job or difficulty finding employment. Many employers conduct background checks and may be hesitant to hire someone with a criminal record, especially if the offense is related to driving or involves alcohol or drugs.
Additionally, a DUI conviction can strain personal relationships with friends and family, who may view the offense as a breach of trust.
Furthermore, a DUI conviction can damage your reputation and social standing in the community. News of the arrest may spread quickly, and people may be less likely to trust or respect you in the future. This can be especially damaging for professionals who rely on their reputation and public image to succeed in their careers.
Even if you're not sentenced to jail time, the impact of a DUI conviction can be felt for years. As such, it's critical to take charges seriously and seek legal advice as soon as possible to protect your rights and defend your case.
What to Do If Arrested for DUI
If you're arrested for DUI, it's essential to cooperate with law enforcement officers but also be aware of your rights. This includes your right to remain silent and to have an attorney present during questioning.
When interacting with law enforcement, provide personal identifying details such as your name, address, and date of birth. Beyond that, you are not required to provide additional information. You can politely decline to answer further questions, including whether you've been drinking, how much you've had to drink, or why you think you were pulled over.
It's critical not to admit to drinking anything or make statements that could be incriminating. Anything you say during the arrest can and will be used against you, be cautious and protect your rights.
Seek legal advice as soon as possible. A DUI lawyer can help you understand your legal rights, defend your case, and potentially reduce or dismiss the charges against you.
Additionally, avoid making further statements to law enforcement officials until you have spoken with an attorney. With proper legal representation, you can seek to minimize the impact of a DUI arrest and move forward with your life.
Call Our Firm Today
Being stopped on suspicion of DUI can be stressful and intimidating. You can expect law enforcement to conduct a series of tests to determine your level of intoxication. The consequences of a DUI conviction include fines, license suspension, and jail time.
Taking DUI stops seriously is critical, and seeking legal help, if necessary, could make a significant difference in the outcome of your case.
Call Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP at (800) 462-7160 or contact us online. We provide legal representation in Los Angeles.