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Can The Police Ask Someone To Step Out Of The Car And Can They Refuse?

The police have the right to ask the person to step out of their car if they believed they had witnessed a crime going on. If the person did not comply, then the police would threaten to and then eventually arrest the person. A sobriety checkpoint would be a different story, but if the person was pulled over for some reason, and they were asked to exit the car, then they would be required to get out of the car.

The person could try to refuse getting out of the car, but they would be running the risk of making the police officer more upset and then finding more reasons for them to want to arrest the person. There would really be no reason to try and stay in the car because then the police would think that the person had an attitude and the only chance the person had of getting out of the situation would be gone.

Do People Have The Right To Refuse Answering Police Questions?

Absolutely, and I recommend for people to respectfully decline answering questions about drinking, where they had been, and how they were feeling. They should only give information such as their name, their license number, and that type of information. The person should try to say as little as possible so the police do not get to hear them talk a lot, so they would not be able to assess the person’s speech. The person should keep their conversation minimal, and they are not required to answer all the investigatory questions.

They should answer introductory question by saying they respectfully decline to answer those questions, and that they had been advised by an attorney that they should not answer any questions other than giving their name and driver’s license. The person should also not blow into that preliminary machine if the police suspected they were over the limit.

They should also not do the field sobriety tests, because they are not actually required to do them, although after someone was arrested for DUI, the person would be required to do a chemical test. They could either do a blood or a breath test, and depending on which county the person was in, the blood test would typically be the better way to go because of a number of reasons, one of which is that a sample would be retained and could be retested. A lot could go wrong with blood testing because it goes through a lot more procedures to get to a final number.

The person would be required to take that chemical test for either breath or blood once they had been arrested, and if they refused that, they would end up losing their license for most likely a year. We could get a hearing with the DMV to try and prevent that from happening but they would be very difficult hearings to win.

How Do Miranda Rights Play Into The DUI Arrest And Investigation?

We have all seen the police officers reading the Miranda Rights on TV. Miranda would be triggered when two things happened: custody plus interrogation. This would mean that the person had been arrested for the DUI. The police usually ask all their investigatory questions before determining they were going to arrest the person. This is usually after having the person blow into the breath machine, and then they would put the cuffs on.

They would be required to read Miranda if they wanted to ask the person more questions after that, because if they did not, and if we had to go to trial on the case, then we would be able to run a motion to get any of those answers to questions that were asked after the arrest thrown out. The police could also try and get answers in the form of voluntary statements that were made after Miranda was read. Miranda would not usually be able to help very much in DUI cases because the officers would usually have gotten most of what they needed before Miranda needed to be read.

Would It Look Bad In Front Of A Judge If Someone Was Uncooperative?

The person should not do these tests, especially if they felt they may be at or over the limit, because then the person would only be giving the police more things to use against them. In a DUI, the person would almost always be charged with impaired driving if their chemical test, the breath or blood test, came back at or over 0.08, along with being charged with being charged with being at or over a 0.08.

They only have to get the person for one or the other charge for them to be convicted of a DUI. They would not have very much on the impaired driving charge if we were able to beat the 0.08 based on whatever defense we had because they would not have results of the field sobriety tests. They would not be able to have a police officer come in and testify that the person messed this up or that up or the person failed a certain test because of some reason or the other.

This may not be happening in other areas, but especially in San Francisco, if the person told the police officer they had one or two beers but then came in over the limit, they would be charged with a violation of vehicle code Section 31, which is giving false information to a police officer. This is a misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 6 months in jail. That would not necessarily happen to the person if they were convicted in most cases, although it is something that could eventually be seen as a crime of moral turpitude and it could lead to issues with employment or immigration.

The person does not need to give the police any information and can respectfully decline. I would recommend that everybody do that unless they had only had a beer and they knew they would be way under the limit. In that case, the person would need to consider why they should go through the whole thing of getting arrested when they knew that once they blew into that machine, they would blow a 0 or a 0.01 or something very low like that.

For more information on Traffic Stops and Miranda Rights, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (415) 523-7878 today.

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Aaron Bortel
With 30 years of specialized experience in DUI defense, Attorney Aaron Bortel is a dedicated advocate for those facing DUI charges in the Bay Area. Committed to helping clients avoid jail, save their driver’s licenses and jobs, and prevent permanent criminal records, he combines deep legal expertise with genuine care for his client's welfare. Trust in a lawyer who not only defends but truly supports you through challenging times.

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