San Diego DUI Tips – How to avoid a San Diego Drunk Driving Charge over the Holidays
AVOIDING A SAN DIEGO DUI & THE NEED TO HIRE A SAN DIEGO DUI Drunk Driving ATTORNEY
Below are Tips to Avoid Being Convicted of San Diego Drunk Driving or DUI, and Saving Your Driving Privileges in California:
Don’t drink and drive!
If you have been drinking, call a taxi or have a friend drive you home.
Always drive safely.
Most San Diego DUI / Drunk Driving stops are for traffic violations such as speeding, unsafe lane changes, illegal turns, etc. Be focused and attentive while driving. Drive at the speed limit. Be sure to turn on your headlights, fasten your seatbelts, etc. Do not play with your car stereo or do anything that will divert your attention from your driving, such as eating in the car while driving.
Do not let the San Diego Drunk Driving police officer check your eyes and do not agree to take other San Diego DUI Field Sobriety Tests.
If you are suspected of San Diego Drunk Driving, the San Diego DUI police officer will usually first want to check your eyes. He will ask you to hold your head still and follow his pen or finger with your eyes only. This is called the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test which is a Field Sobriety Test. Nystagmus is the involuntary jerking of the eyes. When the test is administered correctly by the officer and Nystagmus is detected, it can be an indicator that the alcohol is present in the suspected driver’s blood. The problem is that many officers DO NOT administer the test correctly and will often short-cut the test, but yet the officer will write in the arrest report that he/she observed “clues” supporting an arrest for San Diego DUI. The HGN test is nothing more than a tool for the officer to use to gather evidence that will be used against you. Since the HGN test is a voluntary test, it is your right to elect NOT to participate in the test. An honest officer can not write that you failed a San Diego DUI test that you elected not to do. Always be polite, but say to the officer “on the advice of my attorney, I elect not to participate in any San Diego DUI field sobriety tests.”
In addition to the San Diego DUI HGN test, other San Diego Drunk Driving Field Sobriety Tests often given by San Diego DUI police officers are: finger to nose, hand pat, finger count, say the alphabet backwards, count backwards, one leg stand, walk the line and turn, and what ever other crazy test the San Diego DUI officer can come up with.
Note that only the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test, the One Leg Stand test, and the Walk and Turn test are considered Standardized Field Sobriety Tests and are approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and are part of the DWI Detection Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Program. Any other San Diego DUI test is simply not reliable as there are no studies supporting them.
Like the HGN, all San Diego DUI Field Sobriety Tests are completely voluntary and you do not have to take them. Always be polite, but say to the officer “on the advice of my attorney, I elect not to participate in any San Diego Drunk Driving field sobriety tests.”
Many San Diego DUI law enforcement officers will tell you that if you pass the tests you won’t be arrested. But if the San Diego DUI officer smells alcohol on your breath, it is very likely that you will be arrested for a San Diego drunk driving charge. Some San Diego Drunk Driving officers will tell you that if you refuse to take the San Diego DUI Field Sobriety Tests, you will go to jail. Do not allow the officer to intimidate you. If you’ve been drinking, you will likely go to jail anyway.
Some San Diego DUI officers will also tell you that if you refuse to take the Field Sobriety Tests, they will tell the San Diego DUI court and it will be evidence that you are guilty. San Diego Drunk Driving Field Sobriety Tests are completely voluntary and it is your right to elect not to take the test.
By agreeing to participate in San Diego DUI Field Sobriety Tests, you are helping the San Diego DUI officer gather evidence and build a San Diego DUI case against you. You are giving the officer the opportunity to write in his report that you “failed” the tests. The tests are subjective and the officer’s idea of “passing” is very different than yours. You are better off not giving the officer “evidence” that he will use against you. Again, be polite, but say to the officer “on the advice of my attorney, I elect not to participate in any San Diego DUI field sobriety tests.”
Politely elect NOT to answer any questions during the San Diego Drunk Driving investigation, either before or after you are arrested. You must provide the San Diego DUI officer with your driver license, registration, and proof of insurance, but other than that REMAIN SILENT. If the officer asks you if you have been drinking alcohol, simply say “on the advice of my attorney, I choose to exercise my 5th amendment right and remain silent.” It is your 5th Amendment right to remain silent and not say anything that may incriminate you.
The San Diego DUI officer will want to ask you questions regarding where you’ve been, what you’ve eaten, how many alcoholic beverages you drank, what were you drinking, when you last slept, etc. By doing so the officer is gathering information to make a quick determination of your drinking pattern, and with this information, the officer will determine if he/she should test your blood alcohol level as soon as possible or wait a while until you have fully absorbed the alcohol in your stomach. In addition, by answering the officer’s questions you are helping the officer gather evidence – your statements- that will be used against you in San Diego DUI court. Again, politely say “Officer, I choose to exercise my 5th amendment right and remain silent.”
If you are age 21 or over, Decline to take the San Diego DUI Preliminary Alcohol Screen (PAS) Breath test. After you’ve been stopped, if the San Diego DUI officer suspects that you’ve been drinking, he/she may ask you to blow into a Drunk Driving Preliminary Alcohol Screen Breath (PAS) device, which is a hand held device used to detect alcohol in your breath. This San Diego DUI test is voluntary but most officers won’t tell you that. Many San Diego DUI officers will tell you that you must blow into the PAS device. THIS IS FALSE if you are 21 years of age or older (If you are under 21 years of age, you must agree to take the PAS test).
Although the implied consent law requires that you submit to a “chemical test” to measure the alcohol concentration in your blood if you are suspected of Drunk Driving or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the San Diego DUI PAS device is not one of the chemical tests. The San Diego DUI PAS device is a “preliminary” breath alcohol screening device designed to determine the presence and amount of alcohol in your body. If you agree to take the San Diego DUI PAS test you will have to take a second test after you are arrested (breath or blood). The San Diego DUI officer uses the PAS device results to determine if you will be arrested for Drunk Driving. PAS devices do not always give accurate results. If you agree to blow into the San Diego DUI PAS device, you are helping the officer gather more evidence that will be used against you in court.
Note: If you are on probation for a previous California DUI conviction, you may have given up your right to decline the San Diego DUI PAS device test. Be sure to review your terms of probation if you are on probation for a previous San Diego DUI or Drunk Driving conviction and consult a San Diego Drunk Driving lawyer.
Choose a blood or a breath test. Be sure to take only one San Diego Drunk Driving test! Some San Diego DUI officers will talk an arrestee into taking a breath and a blood test. That’s like having two smoking guns. Take one test only.
Note: If you have not been drinking alcohol and are being arrested for driving under the influence of drugs, choose a urine test as it is the least accurate test.
Make sure your tail lights. turn signals, etc. are working properly. Inspect your car and make sure all lights are working. Also make sure your windows are not unlawfully tinted. Many times persons are stopped by a San Diego Drunk Driving officer because a tail light is out or the car has some other problem. The officer then smells alcohol when he walks up to the driver’s window and a San Diego DUI / Drunk Driving investigation follows. Between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and thereafter, San Diego DUI officers on patrol are looking for reasons to stop drivers to possibly get a San Diego DUI or Drunk Driving arrest.
Always be on your best behavior. Some San Diego DUI police cars are equipped with video recorders and the stop and arrest are recorded. Some San Diego DUI officers carry digital recorders and record conversations. Also many San Diego DUI jails have video recorders so you are being recorded while you are being processed. Be polite.
Insist on your three completed telephone calls and make a detailed record of all events. Penal Code § 851.5 entitles an arrested person 3 completed telephone calls. This is your right and therefore you should insist! Call your cell phone and leave yourself a voice message to record your voice, that way if your speech is not slurred the recording can be used as evidence in your defense. You should also telephone a San Diego DUI attorney. Memorize this number of a top San Diego DUI lawyer: (951) 788-2230.
Also remember to make a detailed record of all the events that occurred before being stopped, up to and including being released from custody. Do so while it is fresh in your mind. This information may be helpful in defending your San Diego DUI case.
Retain an experienced San Diego DUI defense attorney to represent you. San Diego Drunk Driving cases are complex and require specialized knowledge. San Diego DUI defense lawyers can help.
List of San Diego Drunk Driving Lawyers and San Diego DUI Attorneys: