Being pulled over for a potential DUI by a police officer is an anxiety-provoking experience to begin with. No one knows what to expect if the officer asks you to step outside of the vehicle and you’re more likely to make minor errors that could lead the police to think you’re under the influence. This is a serious matter, however, and one that requires insight from an attorney immediately.
The stress of the situation can lead people to feel flustered and to make mistakes that could compromise their criminal defense. Providing less information is more when it comes to being pulled over. The bright lights in your face, an officer asking questions and traffic flying by can make even a generally calm person very nervous and many people tend to talk more when nervous.
Avoid talking unnecessarily as you could accidentally admit guilt or provide more information than is necessary. The officer is trained to get as much information as possible from you when speaking to you so do yourself a favor and protect your interests by staying quiet. When you are pulled over on the side of the road, you are detained and not arrested.
Even though you are not arrested, you still maintain the right to avoid to incriminate yourself. You can decline to answer questions like “do you feel that impact of alcohol?” However, this does not excuse you from complying with the officer’s request to see your driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance. Remember that field sobriety tests are voluntary; you can politely decline and say that these are too objective and not required by California law.
The officer at this point in time must identify whether or not there is probable cause to arrest you and if you are arrested, then you have to submit to a blood or breath test. Immediately after this situation has occurred, it is strongly recommended that you make notes. Make a written record of everything that was said and done at your earliest opportunity. In the event that you need to defend yourself against DUI allegations, this information can prove crucial.