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What Common Mistakes Do People Make When They Encounter Police In A DUI Situation?

When encountering the police in a DUI situation, the most common mistake people make is answering too many questions, talking too much, and not asserting their right to remain silent. Part of the problem is the fact that the police are trained to get people to talk, so it is important for people to understand that they don’t have to answer every question that’s asked. The job of the officers and prosecutors in convicting individuals becomes much easier when they are provided with an abundance of information.

How Common Is It For People To Start Talking To The Police In A DUI Scenario?

To some extent, almost everyone talks to the police in a DUI scenario. Police officers will approach a suspect’s vehicle and ask them to remain in their car and roll down their window. The officer will try to detect the odor of an alcoholic beverage, marijuana smoke, or whatever could be causing impairment. If the officer pulled over the suspect for the way they were driving, they might ask the driver whether they knew they were speeding or weaving between lanes. Prior to arresting someone, an officer can ask pretty much anything they want. They will usually ask where the person is coming from, whether they’ve had anything to drink, how much they’ve had to drink, when they had their last drink, when they had their first drink, and whether they have had anything to eat. If someone says that they would like to have a lawyer present before answering any more questions, then the officer must stop asking investigatory questions and move on with their investigation.

At that point, an officer will have the suspect step out of their vehicle and will tell them they are going to conduct field sobriety tests in order to ensure they are okay to continue driving. These tests are optional, and despite the fact that officers are supposed to tell people that, they often don’t. As a result, most people perform the tests, which generally include walking and turning, standing on one leg, and placing one foot directly in front of the other. The officers will usually begin with the horizontal gaze nystagmus test in order to detect involuntary jerking of the eyes. The results of these tests, which are judged by the officer, will be given to the prosecutor as potential evidence of impairment.

If a suspect does not perform the field sobriety tests, then the prosecutor will have a lot less information to use when trying to convict them of DUI, so it is best to respectfully decline to perform these tests. If someone has only had one drink and they know they are pretty sober, then they might want to do the tests. This is because the last test they’re going to have someone do is a roadside breath test, which is not supposed to be an evidential test but will come into evidence. This test will detect what level of alcohol is in a person’s system, and if a person is anywhere near the legal limit, then they run the risk of being arrested for DUI. People have a right to refuse these breath tests, but once they’ve been arrested for DUI, they will be required to blow into an evidential machine. If the officer suspects someone is under the influence of drugs, then they will need to consent to a blood test. In general, people should consent to blood tests because there is a lot more that can go wrong with them than breath tests.

In order to be convicted of a DUI, the prosecutor needs to show that a person was either above the legal limit or displayed impairment by failing to drive with the caution of a sober person. In the San Francisco Bay Area, San Mateo County, and Santa Clara County, all the prosecutor needs to do is convince a jury that one of the two elements is present in order to obtain a conviction. When an individual does not consent to the breath test, then they take away one piece of evidence from the prosecution. As a result, the defense attorney will have better odds of negotiating a favorable result or getting the charge reduced.

For more information on Mistakes Made In A DUI Situation, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are 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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