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What to Do After You've Been Pulled Over in Orange County

DUI Representation in Brea

In the state of California, it is not technically legal to have a drink of beer or wine and then drive to a friend's house. It is, however, illegal to operate a vehicle drunk. There is a big difference here, and it is important that you understand your rights as a California resident. As defense attorneys, one question that is often asked is, "What should I do if I get pulled over for driving under the influence (DUI)?" This is a great question and a lot of defense lawyers may disagree, but at Anthony Curiale and Associates, A Professional Corporation, we recommend the following steps.

1. Find a safe place to pull over.
By the time the officer turns his lights on to pull you over, he or she has already observed you exhibiting signs of drunk driving. All of the things the officer observes will be included in his or her police report. Police reports have a significant effect on criminal proceedings. These details can come up later at the DMV hearing, negotiations, or even trial. If you drive too slowly or erratically, pull over in an unsafe area, or come to an abrupt stop, then the officer will note this.

2. Relax.
Just like any time you get pulled over, you are doing a disservice to yourself if you are jittery or nervous. Do not make sudden movements and just relax and take a deep breath. One way to stay calm is to be organized. Next time you get in your car, put your registration and your proof of insurance in an envelope that is easily accessible in your glove box. That way, if you do get pulled over, you can provide the officer with what he needs without stressing out and fumbling around your car.

3. Be polite and courteous.
Turn your car off and roll your windows down. Turn an overhead light on, put your keys on the roof of your car and put your hands in a visible position on the steering wheel. This may this sound ridiculous, even over the top, but it is important that you put yourself in the officer's shoes. It may be late and dark. You are probably on the side of a busy highway and the officer has no idea what to expect. These officers risk their lives for your safety, and if you show them respect, they will more than likely pay you similar courtesy.

The worst thing you can do for yourself in any situation is to be belligerent and angry with an officer. Just stay calm and be polite. At this point, the officer has tremendous control over you and your freedom. The reality of the situation is, if you have gotten this far, the officer can arrest you and take you to jail. Just remain calm and polite.

4. Do not answer any questions.
Be polite, but do not give up your rights. Do not answer any questions that might get you in trouble. You should certainly comply with the officer's requests. If he or she asks you to get out of the car, you should do so. But if the officer asks you where you were drinking, how many drinks you had, or if you know why he pulled you over, then your response is, "I'm sorry officer, I've been advised not to answer any questions."

5. Refuse field sobriety tests.
You are not legally obligated to take any field sobriety tests. These tests are subjective and can be fallible. Results of these tests may be challenged in court.

6. Take a test at the police station.
Under California's implied consent law, you will be required to take a chemical test to determine the amount of alcohol in your system. You do not necessarily have to take the breath test on the scene of the traffic stop or checkpoint and you can choose between the blood test and the breath test at the station, but you have got to choose one. Different lawyers will give you different advice about which to take once you get at the station. We think a breath test is a better option. These tests are generally less reliable than blood tests and are therefore more susceptible to defense at a later point.

7. Write everything down.
When you get somewhere quiet after the incident, get out some paper and write everything down. The more notes you take, the better off your attorney will be. Write down things like:

  • How many drinks you had
  • What you were drinking
  • Where you were drinking
  • Who you were with
  • How the officer behaved
  • What you were wearing
  • What you had to eat that day
  • Where you got pulled over
  • Whether or not you were read your Miranda rights
  • The time you got pulled over

Write down everything. We mean this. Even if you think it is inconsequential, it could make all the difference in the outcome of your case.

Contact an Attorney as Soon as Possible!

While the situation at hand may seem ominous, you can protect yourself and your rights by contact Anthony Curiale and Associates, A Professional Corporation. At our firm, we are proud to have assisted countless clients in obtaining the resolutions that they desire after a DUI arrest. It is our job to protect the citizens of Brea from illegal police acts and unlawful arrests.

If you have been charged with a DUI, you need to contact our Brea DUI firm today and schedule a case evaluation with an experienced attorney.

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  1. Our firm has more experience in representing medical marijuana cases than any other firm in Orange County.
  2. We have been actively practicing all aspects of the law related to marijuana for over twelve years.
  3. We have successfully opened and represented more than 200 dispensaries throughout California.
  4. Our team of marijuana lawyers has protected the interests of dispensaries, cultivators and manufacturers.
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