Your Rights When Pulled Over for Suspicion of Drink Driving


Your Rights

Firstly, you shouldn’t ever be tempted to drink and drive. Nevertheless, should you be pulled over by a law enforcement officer on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI), you should be aware of your rights. If you are aware of these rights, you may be able to save yourself from a conviction for committing a DUI offense.

  • You have the right to remain silent.
  • You should under no circumstances be disrespectful to the officer of the law. Nevertheless, you have no obligation to provide an answer to these questions:
    • “Do you feel any effects from alcohol?”
    • “How much did you drink today/ tonight?”
    • “When did you last drink any alcohol?”
    • “Were you driving?”
  • Furthermore, with respect to a preliminary breath test, you have the right to make a refusal to take it. The preliminary breath test is one of the field sobriety tests that the law utilizes to measure blood alcohol content (BAC). All the same, if you have a current DUI probation or you are under 21 years of age, you cannot refuse to take this test.

You should have the following three items available to hand to the officer of the law:

  • Valid drivers’ license
  • Proof of auto insurance
  • Valid car registration documentation

Ideally, these documents should be maintained in a single localized storage area within your vehicle so you can easily hand them to the officer upon request.

You can demand that you undergo a blood test as opposed to a breath test. For one reason or another, the officer might prefer that you take the breath test. Nevertheless, normally it will serve in your best interests to undergo a blood test instead.

Are Breathalyzers Accurate?

The breathalyzer is a device that is used to estimate blood alcohol content (BAC) taken from a breath sample. It is in fact a brand name for this form of instrument with respect to a series of models released over the years. Though now, it is regarded as a genericized trademark.

A “Conforming Products List” is held by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as to which devices have been approved for preliminary screening use and evidentiary use.

Breathalyzers, however, have been known to record in error. They can prove particularly sensitive to temperature, and will also provide a false reading if they have not been recalibrated in accordance to ambient air temperatures. The subject’s temperature can also play a part in a breathalyzers fallibility.

The most commonly found sources of error with respect to breath alcohol analysis is experienced when the subject has been tested too early – at a time when their body is continuing to absorb the alcohol. Alcohol absorption may continue for between 45 minutes and a two-hour period after consumption, and perhaps even longer. Usually, peak absorption will occur within the hour.

Law enforcement officers may also fail to use the devices correctly. On the other hand, administrators fail to perform appropriate maintenance or neglect to recalibrate. These issues are relatively commonplace and represent regular source of error.

Most states carry very strict guidelines with respect to officer training in addition to the maintenance procedures and re-calibration of the testing equipment.


The DMV Hearing

If you have been arrested or cited under the charge of driving under the influence, you will be given a pink slip of paper by the arresting officer which is inscribed with the letters “APS”.

This represents your temporary license, and it remains valid for 30 days. After 30 days, your license is suspended. You may challenge the suspension, but you must get in touch with the DMV within 10 days of the arrest. There will then be a hearing to determine the validation of your license.

During the hearing, the DMV will aim to prove that:

  • You were in fact driving.
  • You were pulled over lawfully.
  • At the time of driving, your blood alcohol was 0.08% or higher.


There are numerous approaches to win a DMV hearing, after which you may keep your license.

When you are being investigated for a DUI, there are a number of Californian laws and regulations that have been established to ensure that the officer follows the correct procedure. Should the procedure be incorrectly followed, it can be enough grounds to have your case thrown out. To prove the fact, you should engage the services of a San Diego DUI lawyer.

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