The Orange County Sheriff’s Department is warning residents of Orange County to plan ahead for Labor Day festivities that involve alcohol. The agency will be deploying multiple DUI checkpoints throughout the area with the intention of arresting anybody who is driving a vehicle who is under the influence of alcohol.
Officials recommend planning ahead to get a safe ride home at the end of the night. Such plans can include designating a sober driver, using Uber or a taxi service, or calling a sober friend or family member to give you a ride home. They also recommend taking car keys away from any individual who appears to be intoxicated so they are unable to drive.
The best strategy for avoiding an arrest is to avoid being pulled over in the first place, so if you find yourself behind the wheel and you’re unsure if you’re under the legal limit, remember that your first priority is driving the vehicle, and being safe while doing it. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by texting, talking on the phone, eating, or by engaging any other passengers in your vehicle.
If police see that your headlights are off at night, that any of your taillights or brake lights are not working properly, or that your vehicle registration tags are outdated, they will pull you over. Make sure your vehicle is in good working order and that it doesn’t stand out as suspicious.
If you are pulled over for suspected DUI, remember first that you being closely observed by officers. Anything you say or do can and will be used against you at this point, even though you’re not yet under arrest. Be polite and cooperative. Ask that everything be recorded on audio or (preferably) video.
Avoid answering questions, but do so politely. Tell the officer that you want to cooperate, but that you don’t want to answer any questions. This is once again your best defense against an officer who is likely recording everything you say to be used against you later.
You are not legally required to perform field sobriety tests (FSTs), so politely refuse to take them. You are, however, required to submit to a breath or blood test to determine your BAC. You should not refuse this test, because it will mean the automatic suspension of your driver’s license for a whole year, 48 hours in jail for a first-time refusal, plus they will force a blood draw to determine your BAC anyway.
You should opt for the blood test. Sure, getting the breath test is faster and doesn’t involve getting a needle stuck in your arm, but a blood test will ensure that a testable sample remains in the lab. Breath tests leave no sample for independent testing, and despite calibration, the results of breath tests are not as reliable as blood tests.
For more information on the Dos and Don’ts of a DUI stop, see our earlier blog on this topic located here.
If you or someone you know is arrested for DUI, call Orange County criminal lawyer Staycie R. Sena immediately for a consultation at (949) 477-8088.