What to do if you’re pulled over for a DUI in Ventura County
Driving drunk is never a great idea. It’s unsafe, even lethal, and can result in long-term consequences and expenses. That said, everyone makes mistakes, and in a place like Southern California where everything seems to be a hop on the freeway away, it can be easy to incorrectly assess your ability to get behind the wheel. Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re pulled over and suspected of a DUI.
Stay calm and composed
Once a police officer has decided to pull you over, he or she will be watching everything you do both to determine if you may do something unsafe or violent, such as draw a weapon or try to run, and also to watch for additional evidence of intoxication. Pull over safely and calmly, and try to remain calm when speaking to the officer.
Remember your right against self-incrimination
The police officer will likely ask you questions about where you’ve been prior to being pulled over, whether or not you’ve had anything to drink that evening, and how long ago you stopped drinking. You may feel tempted to speak with the officer at length to answer these questions and seem cooperative. However, as you’ve heard on countless police procedural shows, “anything you say can and will be used against you.” The officer will not only use your answers stating that you’d been drinking to prove that you were intoxicated, but also cite subjective evidence of slurred or slow speech or inability to maintain eye contact or irregular breathing—things that could be evidence of nerves, and not just intoxication.
Do not feel compelled to submit to a handheld alcohol screen or other field sobriety test
Field sobriety tests are not only potentially damning, but are often highly subjective and potentially inaccurate measures of your intoxication. Balancing on one foot and walking in a completely straight line with absolutely no stumbling can be a challenge at any time, and can feel impossible when you’re nervously doing so in front of a police officer. There is no objective “passing” or “failing” such an exam, either. Additionally, blowing into a “PAS,” or preliminary alcohol screening device, is not required for anyone over 21 who has not previously been convicted of a DUI. The results of a PAS test aren’t admissible in court, and have been shown to be unreliable, but the results of such tests can be used to support an arrest. You would be well-served to politely decline such tests, and force the officer to instead have to find other evidence to support a legal arrest.
Know your options after arrest, and remember that conviction is not a foregone conclusion
If you’ve been arrested for a DUI in Ventura county, you may be scared of possible consequences to your job and your future that could result from a conviction. You may want to resolve the matter as quickly and inexpensively as possible by pleading guilty. However, a DUI conviction and criminal record could have long-term consequences and expenses above and beyond the fines imposed by the court. A skilled criminal defense and DUI attorney will be familiar with the high burden the state needs to meet to convict you, and will employ nuanced technical defenses to the charges against you. For a free consultation on your DUI, contact a skilled and knowledgeable Oxnard DUI defense attorney at the Law Office of Paul Tyler, at 805-889-9000.