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Know your rights when stopped for driving under the influence

Alcohol and other substances, such as drugs, are known to affect certain aspects of a person's behavior, such as coordination, reaction time and mental acuity. For this reason, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal in California and all other states. A driver may want to ensure he or she knows his or her legal rights in the event of a traffic stop that could lead to a DUI charge.

There are specific procedures that officers must follow in order to make a lawful arrest. Taking note of whether proper procedures were followed may prove beneficial should one be arrested and charged with DUI. Officers must have sufficient probable cause to justify pulling a driver over or arresting a driver. 

Contrary to popular belief, field sobriety tests are not compulsory, and drivers must be informed that it is not against the law to refuse submission. However, under the implied consent law, there are legal consequences for refusing breath, blood or urine tests. In addition, officers must advise drivers of their rights by reading the Miranda warning once arrests are made.

California drivers may also want to keep in mind that breath samples cannot be independently tested later, while obtaining blood samples may allow defense attorneys to verify the test results obtained by law enforcement. Any driver facing a charge for driving under the influence may benefit from the experience of a lawyer who focuses on defending clients against DUI charges. Being aware of your rights and thoroughly observing the procedures leading up to and during your arrest may assist your attorney as he or she builds a defense strategy for your case.

Source: FindLaw, "DUI Traffic Stop FAQs", Accessed on May 18, 2015

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