Halloween and Thanksgiving are around the corner. That means more family get togethers and the drinking festivities that go along with the holiday…….or does it? Will kids trick or treat and are we at a point where we would feel safe enough to attend a large dinner gathering. Last year I don’t think we had any Trick or Treaters. Will we all feel safe enough to let our kids out? I for one say NO.

The holidays normally bring thousands of visitors to our desert, but will they this year? These visitors are here to have a good time, including Golf and Parties. Many will drink with abandon and meet members of the Black and White Fraternity, affectionally called The Riverside Sheriffs. The nervousness from this encounter causes drivers to develop Black and White Fever...especially if they have had a drink or two.

When seeing police behind us, we wonder if we did something wrong and whether we are about to be stopped. That is true for all of us, even though we know the ropes. The driver usually becomes the most careful driver on the road, and starts to get nervous and sweat. When stopped, Black and White fever causes you to need multiple deodorant pads while worrying about being cited for speeding, let alone a DUI... if you Had Been Drinking.

Imagine, how you would feel if you were being followed by a Black & White Patrol Car and HAD BEEN DRINKING….. though not drunk or impaired? You think of the consequences of an arrest…the conviction and loss of your driver’s license. That is when the “fever” kicks in.

In the Coachella Valley, we have more DUI DEATHS, per capita, than anywhere else in California. We have all read in the Desert Sun, and heard on our local stations, of the many recent fatalities. I have represented many families pursuing a Wrongful Death case against the DUI driver...and it is terrible... for all sides.

Law enforcement looks for drinking drivers and the Sheriff’s set up Checkpoints during this time of the year. However, Riverside Sheriff’s are even more vigilant during the holidays that bring in visitors from all over the world. I have had DUI clients that I have never met from all over the States, Europe and Japan too.

The Golden Rules if stopped for a possible DUI?

  • Think carefully about what you say as well as your movement, body language and emotions. Please understand that you have a right, in a courteous way, to NOT TALK. I usually suggest saying you would be happy to talk, but your lawyer said to never talk without him there. Can we call Dale Gribow and get an ok to talk to you?
  • You don’t have to submit to a breath test at the scene or Field Sobriety Tests. They are optional! You should explain that you understand these tests are not mandatory at the scene and thus you elect not to take them. Explain you are happy to cooperate and take a blood test at the station or hospital. Many professionals believe, that way your reading may be going down, by the time the test is administered. Sometimes it can take 3 hours to get you to a blood test.
  • Don’t argue with the police. Remember, anything you say or do can be used against you...and it is not what you say but what they thought they heard you say, that is important.
  • Keep your hands where the police can see them.
  • Don’t run.
  • Don’t touch any police officer.
  • Don’t resist cuffs, even if you believe you are innocent. I have had MANY clients who tried to avoid the cuffs by spinning around, and the officer’s thumb was accidentally jammed. This led to battery on a police officer charge added to the case. You don’t want that.
  • Don’t complain at the scene or tell the police they are wrong and that you are going to file a complaint or that you know the Mayor etc....it will be in the report…and can only hurt you.
  • Request a lawyer immediately upon your arrest.
  • Remember the officer’s badge and patrol car numbers.
  • Write everything down that you can remember immediately upon being released.
  • Try to find witnesses and their names and phone numbers.
  • If you are injured TAKE Pics of the injuries as soon as possible, but make sure you seek medical attention first.

Remember: Silence is Golden and Handcuffs are Silver so DON’T TALK to POLICE without your lawyer’s permission.

Though often referred to as an PI or DUI 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 after screwing up.

I look upon my job as protecting the Constitutional Rights of every American who drinks and drives and gets in an accident or arrested for a DUI.

I do however “Change Hats” when as a Personal Injury Lawyer, I SUE Drunk Drivers for damages to my Injured or Deceased (Wrongful Death) clients.