1. Don't drink and drive and if you do call a taxi or a sober friend to pick you up. I know its obvious but the consequences of a DUI conviction should not be taken lightly.
2. Do not bring unnecessary attention to yourself. When I was a prosecutor most DUI investigations were launched by officers for traffic violations such as speeding, unsafe lane changes, headlights not being turned on, loud stereo, etc..
3. Do not let the officers give you the eye test (horizontal gaze nystagmus) and do not agree to take the other field sobriety test such as the walk and turn, one leg stand, finger to nose, etc.. The reasons being are 1) all these test are voluntary and you do not have to take them 2)as far as the eye test some people have naturally occuring nystagmus in their eyes which might lead to a false positive 3) most officers administer these test incorrectly yet the results will still count against you 4) YOU WILL NOT PASS THEM, I have never seen anyone pass the field sobriety test on a police report as officers know what to write on their reports in order to justify the arrest (this can also be because they administer them incorrectly) 5) Only the eye test (HGN), one leg stand, and walk and turn are standardized test backed by research all other test such as finger pat, finger to nose, romberg are not supported by studies conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Most officers will not tell you these tests are voluntary and will tell you that if you don't take them you will be arrested however if an officer smells alcohol on you they were going to arrest you anyway and the tests will just serve as evidence against you and again YOU WILL NOT PASS THESE TEST.
4) Do not fail the good attitude test. Be polite with an officer even when refusing to take the field sobriety test. Being abrasive with an officer will never help you at the time of a stop nor in court.
5) Do not answer the officer's questions. Again be polite and just give the officer your license, registration, and proof of insurance however other than that remain silent. Once you've admitted to drinking the officer is going to arrest you and NO the 2 beers excuse never works. Also, the biggest mistake I see from people is when they think they'll admit to drinking but say it was a couple of hours prior to when the last time they actually drank and this only hurts you at trial. Recent drinking is more beneficial to drinking hours prior to a stop because of the way alcohol is processed through the body. Again every question you answer is just evidence against you.
6) If you are over 21 and not on probation from a previous DUI conviction decline to take the Preliminary Alcohol Screening Test (PAS). This is the handheld device the officer has on the field. The officer will most likely tell you that if you don't take it you will be arrested but its actually a voluntary test and at that point the officer is going to arrest you anyway and you're just providing him with more evidence. These test often hurt because they are closer in time to the time of actual driving.
NOTE: YOU MUST TAKE A CHEMICAL TEST to measure your blood alcohol concentration after you have been arrested or your license will be suspended. Do not confuse the PAS machine to the breath test back at the station or a blood draw.
7) Insist on making your allotted amount of three phone calls when arrested. If you feel you are not intoxicated call your cell phone and leave yourself a message that way if your speech is not slurred it can be used as evidence in your defense. Call me at my office 562-692-7000 you can leave a digital message 24/7.
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