BEVERLY HILLS, CA--(Marketwired - May 22, 2013) - The red, white, and blue banners of Memorial Day are here again. If your idea of red, white and blue is red wine, a White Russian, or a Blue Hawaiian, then it's best that you up your caloric intake of burgers and then give a friend your car keys so that you avoid trouble on the road this weekend.
Drinking during this national holiday is a tradition as old as the cookout itself. Many people do not realize when they are over the legal blood alcohol limit. The police know holidays bring increased drinking: that's why they set up more roadblocks and sobriety checkpoints to pull over more drivers. If you get stopped at a California DUI checkpoint, you may not be sure if you will pass a breathalyzer test. The same is true for being pulled over after committing a traffic infraction. In either case, once you are on the side of the road the procedure is basically the same.
Officers will be looking for probable cause to make a California DUI arrest. They typically ask if you had anything to drink. They are concerned with the "Yes" answer: that gives them one more step towards probable cause and your arrest for DUI. You are under no obligation to answer an officer's questions. In fact, if the truth is the wrong answer, it is up to your discretion whether or not to answer the question. In some circumstances, it may be better to refrain.
The next thing that usually happens is a series of field sobriety tests. In California, and in many other states, you are not necessarily obligated to submit to field sobriety tests. These tests have problems. The field sobriety tests, walking in a straight line, reciting the alphabet, and other physical tests are highly subjective. The stress of the moment makes it easier to fail them.
You cannot be forced to submit to a breathalyzer test either. However, outright refusal to perform this test can result in an arrest and penalties, including a mandatory license suspension.
If you are pulled over, one of the first things you want to do is ask why you were pulled over. It is your right to ask that question. Asking this simple question can defuse the situation. The officer's answer to your question may be driving peculiarities, such as swerving, speeding, or weaving between lanes. The officer may not have a lawful reason to make a stop or single you out of the California DUI checkpoint.
Driving safely is your biggest responsibility as a driver. It is always best not to drive if you have had any amount of alcohol. Most people do not know exactly how many drinks put them close to the limit and it is easy to misjudge. If you are pulled over, think twice before answering questions, and very respectfully, ask questions of your own, as well, but in a way that shows you do know your rights.
If the officer does not have probable cause, he cannot make an arrest. Do not give them probable cause by being too forthcoming in your own actions or answers to their questions, or you may find out first-hand what DUI penalties California has put in place. Knowing your rights is vital if you are pulled over for a California DUI stop. Know your rights, and stand up for them.