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Your Rights When You Are Pulled Over for a DUI

Brownstein Law Group, P.C. July 26, 2022

In California, it is illegal for a person to drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. On reasonable suspicion of drunk driving, a law enforcement officer may pull your vehicle over and ask you a series of questions. Also, the police officer may request your documentation or ask you to take some DUI tests – chemical tests or field sobriety tests.

Unfortunately, many drivers are unaware of their rights and obligations when pulled over by a police officer for DUI. Due to this, many alleged drunk drivers often end up in the worst possible situation. An experienced California criminal defense attorney can educate you about your rights when you are pulled over for a DUI and help build your defense strategy.

At Brownstein Law Group, P.C., Attorney Josh S. Brownstein is committed to offering comprehensive representation and knowledgeable legal guidance to clients in their DUI cases. As your legal counsel, he can investigate the surrounding facts of your case, enlighten you about your rights regarding DUI tests, and attempt to outline an effective defense strategy to help fight your charges. The firm is proud to serve clients across San Rafael, Marin County, Novato, San Francisco, Petaluma, and throughout California.

What You Should Know About Your Rights

A lot of California motorists are ignorant of their rights when stopped by the police. Even when your vehicle is pulled over on suspicion of impaired driving, you still have rights. Here are some of your rights when you are stopped for a DUI:

You Have the Right to Not Incriminate Yourself

When pulled over by the law enforcement officer, adhere to the standard pull-over procedures. Try not to incriminate yourself. You must be polite, courteous, and respectful. Provide the officer with the necessary documentation, such as your driver's license, registration, and insurance information.

However, only provide additional information or answer questions on the advice of your legal counsel. Essentially, you don't have to answer questions about your whereabouts, the person you were with, or the number of drinks you've had.

You Have a Right to Obtain a Copy of the Police Report

Furthermore, the police report remains the most vital evidence in your DUI case. It contains results of the sobriety test, breath test, PAS test, blood test, and urine test. You have the right to request a copy of the police report. You can obtain a copy from the local police department. The police report will be the bedrock of the prosecution's case during trial. Your attorney can prepare your defense based on this.

Right Against Unlawful Search and Seizure

Before the police officer can search your vehicle, they must have probable cause to conduct a search and seizure. For instance, they perceived alcohol or saw you hiding something in your car. Without any probable cause, it is unlawful for the police to conduct a search and seizure.

You Have a Right to Refuse to Take Field Sobriety Tests

Field sobriety tests are a group of three standardized tests – the Walk-and-Turn Test, the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test, and the One-Leg Stand Test – used by the police to determine whether a driver is impaired. Under California law, field sobriety tests are not mandatory, and there is no punishment for refusal. However, taking chemical tests at the station is mandatory. Refusing to submit to chemical testing may result in license suspension and other penalties.

You Have the Right to Refuse a Preliminary or Portable Breath Test

Additionally, you have the right to refuse the preliminary or portable breath test (PBT). However, this shouldn't be confused with a breath test done at the station. You can refuse a roadside preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) without consequence. If you are lawfully arrested and taken to the station, you must take the chemical tests in order to avoid penalty.

You Have a Right to Contact an Attorney

If you're arrested after a DUI stop and taken to the local precinct for the custodial interview, you have the right to request for and retain an attorney. To avoid incriminating yourself, it is advisable that you remain silent. Speak with your attorney before answering the officer’s questions. Your attorney can fully explain the severity of your DUI charges, explore your possible legal defenses, and help build a strong case.

How Brownstein Law Group, P.C. Can Help

Facing DUI allegations can be a terrifying experience. Trying to defend your drunk driving accusations without experienced guidance or representation could increase your risks of getting convicted and suffering the maximum penalties.

Conversely, understanding your rights when pulled over for a DUI can make your case feel more manageable and ensure that you do not end up in the worst-case scenario. Therefore, when facing DUI charges, hiring a highly-skilled and aggressive criminal defense attorney is imperative for detailed guidance and to strategize your best defenses.

Attorney Josh S. Brownstein has devoted his career to handling criminal cases and defending individuals wrongfully accused of driving while under the influence. As your attorney, he will investigate all of the details of your arrest, determine whether the law enforcement officer had reasonable suspicion to pull your vehicle over, and evaluate various DUI tests performed by the police.

Contact Brownstein Law Group, P.C. today to schedule a simple case assessment with an experienced DUI defense lawyer. Attorney Josh S. Brownstein has the highly-personalized legal counsel and aggressive representation you need to fight your DUI allegations. The firm is proud to serve clients across San Rafael, Marin County, Novato, San Francisco, Petaluma, and throughout California.