Summer Drinks, Checkpoints, and DUIs
Summer is finally here! That means barbeques, family get-togethers, and outdoor recreation, with plenty of opportunities to have a few drinks. Unfortunately, some people do get behind the wheel with more than the legal blood alcohol limit in their systems. Police in San Diego are on the lookout for inebriated drivers, and are more proactive in their pursuit of potential DUI violations when the season comes around.
In the summer months, police increase their presence around areas with a high concentration of bars and restaurants, and employ DUI checkpoints to try to catch inebriated drivers. Though most people drink alcohol in a safe and responsible manner, we here at jD LAW, P.C., know that getting caught in a DUI checkpoint can happen to anyone.
We want you to be safe when enjoying family and friends during the sunny season, so if you happen to be pulled over, here are a few things to keep in mind.
DUI checkpoints are stops in the road where city police officers or highway patrol officers randomly stop vehicles to check for drivers who may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Typically, these are set up during times when impaired driving is known to spike, like holiday weekends. DUI checkpoints are seen by law enforcement as an effective way to combat impaired driving.
If an officer’s initial interaction with a driver leads him to a believe the driver may be under the influence of alcohol and/or narcotics, the officer can initiate field sobriety tests, which might result in a request for a breathalyzer test. Law enforcement may not require breath tests of all drivers, only those whom an officer has a reasonable suspicion of driving under the influence.
Not only do sobriety checkpoints provide officers with a means to identify impaired drivers, but the fear of getting stopped at a checkpoint is also viewed as a way to deter people who have had a few from getting behind the wheel.
Being Stopped Under Suspicion of a DUI
If you are stopped or pulled over for a suspected DUI this summer, do not panic! Stay calm and do the following:
- Stay in the car– Staying in the car is important whenever you are stopped by law enforcement. It will make the officer more calm, and prevent you from appearing inebriated when you walk around. Turn off the ignition and make sure your hands are visible.
- Follow instructions– Follow the officer’s instructions, and try to be as cooperative as possible. He or she may ask questions, request specific documents or information, or instruct you to turn down the volume of your radio. Whatever they are, comply readily and entirely with the requests. Not being cooperative can work against you in a court of law.
- Admit some degree of uncertainty– The officer will most likely ask you how much you have had to drink before you started driving. You do not want to lie; it may be beneficial to express a degree of uncertainty by telling the officer you do not recall how many drinks you may have had.
Be sure you do not do any of the following:
- Do not volunteer to take a roadside test– A field sobriety test may be used as evidence as to whether you are fit or unfit to drive. The officer may ask you to take a field sobriety test, and you have the right to refuse. Never volunteer to take the test yourself. Do your best to remain in your car for as long as you can.
- Do not claim you have been drinking– Compliance does not mean giving full disclosure of your activities. If you have had a drink, do not readily admit the fact to law enforcement. You have the right to not answer questions and request a lawyer.
- Do not get aggressive or belligerent– Conducting yourself in an aggressive manner toward law enforcement is never a good idea. Be respectful and cooperative because it is the best way to make a strong case for being a sober and responsible driver.
Summer is a time for fun in the sun, but being accused of a DUI can negatively affect your life forever. If you are facing alcohol-related charges in San Diego, you need a top lawyer in your corner to protect your freedom. The legal team at jD LAW, P.C., has a track record of success defending clients against erroneous DUI charges. Call (760) 630-2000 to schedule a free consultation with a board-certified criminal defense specialist today.
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