What to Do If You are Pulled Over for a DUI?
If you get stopped during the 2014 Holidays you are possibly under suspicion of a DUI arrest and if the officer smells any alcohol you are certainly under suspicion of a DUI. Of course the officer needs a reason or probable cause to stop you, unless you are at a checkpoint. Unfortunately, probable cause could be almost anything. Even without drinking there are times when we all cross the line, speed or do not stop at the limit line for a red light. Do not become a statistic like the 1.2 Million people who were arrested for a DUI last year....Don't Drink and Drive....Call a Taxi...It is a lot cheaper than calling me.
During December there are roving enforcement saturation patrols and checkpoints. They stop drivers leaving The Nest and dozens of other famous restaurants and watering holes in the greater Palm Springs area. For them it is like shooting fish in a barrel. National statistics show there is over a 90% chance of being arrested if you have the odor of alcohol on your breath. Thus you have to play the odds and prepare for the worst. If there is a moderate amount of alcohol on your breath you could become a victim of an overzealous police officer...though that does not happen here in the CV as often as other parts of the country. If you have been drinking there is good chance you will be arrested. Most of us do not realize it is not the number of drinks but rather the amount of alcohol in each drink that is determinative.
If stopped you should be Respectful and Cooperative with the officer. Initially you need to know that you can refuse to answer questions because you are probably being arrested anyway. You can say I am not going to answer any questions but remember to cooperate and show the officer your driver's license and proof of insurance.
When stopped the impaired driver usually makes many mistakes. Drivers are not aware, unless they read my weekly legal column, that the field sobriety and breath test at the scene are optional. Thus you do not have to take the walk the line, finger to nose, reciting the alphabet backwards and other so called sobriety tests. Likewise the breath test at the scene (unless you are on probation) is optional.
A driver stopped and offered DUI tests should be cooperative and politely say that their attorney is Dale Gribow and he has advised them not to talk without calling Gribow for permission (of course they will not let you call me). The driver should explain "they have been advised these Field Sobriety Tests and the Breath Test at the scene are optional. If that is correct Mr. Officer, then I elect not to take them (unless the driver is on probation). Then explain that you are happy to cooperate with law enforcement and take a blood test."
Though I am sometimes referred to as a criminal defense lawyer, I choose to not view my DUI clients as "criminals". I prefer to view them, and more importantly to treat, them as good, honest people that have found themselves in a scary and unfortunate situation and not treat them as criminals, but rather someone that screwed up.
I look upon my job as protecting the Constitutional rights of every American who drinks and drives and thereafter gets arrested for Drunk Driving. I do however change "hats" when as a lawyer I SUE Drunk Drivers for damages on behalf of my clients for their injuries or death by the drunk driver.
After the driver bails out of jail or gets an OR release they should call a DUI attorney as the attorney must request a DMV hearing within 10 days. When stopped the driver receives a pink piece of paper which is a temporary license good for 30 days in exchange for the driver's license which is taken away. By requesting a DMV hearing and a stay, the license is good until after the results of the hearing. IF the license is suspended it is for about 4 months. At the same time the driver should go to DMV and request a DMV identification card as it will be needed during the next few months.
The DUI driver must understand that a DUI kicks in two proceedings, the court and DMV. Unfortunately here in the CV we do not have adequate transportation as is the case in NY or SF. When your license is suspended there is almost no chance of getting a restricted license to drive from the California DMV. Your license is a necessity in the desert but it is just gone. Our laws are tougher out here in the CV than in many other parts of California.
I have heard the Police are working on a laser beam that will send out a ray to your car to detect alcohol vapors. Another instrument that may have to install an ignition interlock device. This happens in 21 states where before your car will start you have to flow into it to prove you do not have alcohol on your breath. It is hooked up to your electrical system requiring you to blow before the car will start and there is a mini camera attached to prove it was you that blew.
Remember, When you drink don't get behind the wheel and be involved in an auto accident (whether it is your fault or not) or get arrested for a DUI...I don't need the extra business.
DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE, CALL A TAXI.........IT IS A LOT CHEAPER THAN HIRING ME!
The Dale Gribow law firm continues to be rated: 1) TOP LAWYER again this year by Palm Springs Life 2) Perfect AVVO 10.0 Peer Review Rating by fellow attorneys 3) Preeminent Rating by Martindale Hubbell in addition to having been Man of the Year 7 times including the City of Palm Desert and the City of Hope and Dale Gribow Day being proclaimed 4 x's.
If you have any questions regarding this column or ideas for future columns please contact Dale Gribow Attorney at Law at his NEW number 760-565-0533.