What you do when you are pulled over for driving under the influence (DUI) can mean the difference between a slew of unfortunate consequences or getting away with your wallet, freedom, and reputation intact. In the United States, a DUI charge can result from operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. In 2013, there were almost 215,000 drunk driving arrests in California alone. Here are the consequences you would face, and some dos and don’ts when dealing with a DUI traffic stop.
Consequences of a DUI Charge in California
Typical consequences of a DUI charge do much more than just ruining your reputation. The monetary cost of a DUI after court charges, fines, and DUI attorney fees is an average of $10,000. Additionally, people charged with DUI can face jail time and license revocation, even for first-time offenders.
Your actions and behavior during and immediately after a traffic stop are crucial. Not only will they determine whether or not the stop will result in a charge, but they will have an effect on a DUI trial and the repercussions you’ll ultimately face. Here are some important things to keep in mind.
What to Do After DUI
Be polite and cooperative. When the officer asks for your driver’s license and registration, provide them with it. You are required to do this even if you aren’t under arrest. Answer questions about where you have been and where you are going. These are standard questions, and you don’t want to seem like you’re hiding something. Hire a DUI defense lawyer. You should call one as soon as possible after the traffic stop and ask for advice for anything you’re unsure about.
If you are arrested your criminal lawyer should contact the DMV immediately. If you wait more than 10 days after your arrest your driver's license will be suspended. Getting in touch with the DMV gives you the chance to have a hearing. It is your right to have a hearing with the DMV before they can suspend your license.
What NOT To Do After DUI
Be rude or defensive. Talk to the officer in a normal tone and don’t act defensively or use aggressive behavior. Perform any field or chemical sobriety tests if you are sure you will fail them. You are not required by law to do any of them. Though in some cases refusal may carry a penalty, it might be a lighter consequence than what positive results might get you. DO NOT admit to drinking or having been at a party. You can politely decline to answer questions like these and say that you would rather wait to speak until your lawyer is present.
If you are arrested and taken to the police station you will have to submit to a breath or blood test. You do have the option to chose the type of test. However, the California law requires that any driver is required to submit to a chemical test if arrested for a DUI. Refusing the test once you are under arrest can result in the suspension of your driver's license for one year.