Sunday, October 25, 2009

California DUI FAQ by Drunk Driving Criminal Defense Attorney

If I'm stopped for DUI, what do I need to know?

Am I allowed to call an attorney before I decide which chemical test to take?

In California, you do not have the right to speak with a lawyer first. Some states, like Arizona, allow you to talk to your lawyer before you take a chemical test.

If I'm stopped for California DUI, can a police officer ask me questions without reading me my rights?

Sometimes. The answer depends on whether or not you are in California DUI police custody, i.e. whether you are subject to the restraints common to a formal arrest (e.g. handcuffed). For example, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the police do not have to provide Miranda warnings during roadside questioning of a motorist detained pursuant to a traffic stop.

Accordingly, roadside questioning about your drinking, drug-taking, or performance on California DUI field sobriety tests does not constitute "custodial interrogation."

But once you are arrested -- or restrained by California DUI police in a manner consistent with arrest -- you should be read your Miranda rights. Failure to Mirandize may have limited favorable consequences, so contact a California DUI criminal defense attorney for more specificity.

Do I have to take a blood, breath, or urine test if asked to do so by California DUI police?

You may refuse to take a chemical test (blood, breath, or urine), but almost every state has a so-called "implied consent" law. When you drive on the roads of California, you give your consent to submit to a California DUI chemical test.

Under such laws, a refusal can result in suspension of your driver's license for 12 months. (This is true even if you're eventually found not guilty of the current California DUI / drunk driving charge.)

If your California DUI / drunk driving case goes to trial, the California DUI prosecuting attorney can tell the jury that you wouldn't take the test, which may lead the jury members to conclude that you refused because you were, in fact, drunk or under the influence of drugs. The California DUI jury could be instructed that refusal is consciousness of guilt.

I've been charged with California DUI - drunk driving. Should I get a California DUI criminal defense attorney?

Defending against a charge of California DUI - drunk driving is tricky. California DUI criminal defense lawyers need to know California DUI law & procedures, as well as understand complicated scientific and medical concepts.

To contest your California DUI charge, hire a California DUI criminal defense lawyer who is a California DUI Attorney Specialist.