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Driving under the influence or not -- what to do if stopped

Under the California implied consent laws, motorists give their consent to be subjected to field sobriety tests and other chemical tests when they apply for their driver's licenses. If law enforcement officers have reasonable suspicion that a person might be driving under the influence of alcohol, they may effect a traffic stop. However, they may not carry out a field sobriety test without the driver's consent -- and a driver is entitled to refuse. If the driver does not submit to testing, he or she will be at risk of driver's license suspension.

If a driver knows that he or she is not impaired, that driver can ask the officers to make sure their surveillance camera in the patrol car is on to record the stop. While making sure to be polite, the driver need not answer any questions asked by the police, and he or she should not to admit to having consumed alcohol -- even if it was only one drink. Law enforcement may not search the vehicle unless there is probable cause.

Although drinking and driving are sure to get a driver stopped by law officers, other things may also cause problems. When a driver is observed while driving erratically, speeding, rolling through stop signs and more, chances are he or she will be pulled over. Also, defects on the vehicle such as defective head lights or brake lights, and even a skew registration plate, may raise suspicion that might lead to a traffic stop.

While not all charges of suspicion of driving under the influence result in convictions, the possibility must be considered. The consequences can be severe, and an experienced California DUI defense attorney can provide the protection of the accused person's rights. With the skills of a seasoned lawyer, all the factors of the case can be evaluated before a defense strategy is devised.

Source: motorists.org, "How To Protect Your Rights During A DUI Traffic Stop", Accessed on Feb. 25, 2017

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