What to Do if You’re Pulled Over for a DUI in San Diego

You’re driving down 5th Avenue at night and when the lights on the police car behind you begin to flash and you’re ordered to pull over.  The cop approaches you on suspicion that you’re driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  There are two things he or she will look for.  One is whether you were actually driving under any influence and the other is if your blood alcohol is 0.08% or higher.  You don’t necessarily have to be guilty of either to be arrested for a DUI.

The first thing to keep in mind is that you need to remain calm and courteous throughout the process.  Don’t turn it into a car chase and don’t try to run from the police.  Being belligerent won’t help your case either.


Plead the Fifth.  You’ll be asked questions about whether or not you’ve been drinking and how much you’ve had to drink.  At this point you haven’t had your Miranda rights ready because you’re not in custody or under arrest, you’re simply being detained.  While you’re being detained you’re required to stay put and show your license, registration and insurance.  Anything else asked of you might incriminate you and you are under no obligation to answer any other questions.

Field Sobriety Tests

Field sobriety tests are not designed to be easy to pass, even if you’re sober.  Many people don’t realize this, but field sobriety tests are not actually mandatory in California.  There’s not even a pass or fail; the tests are entirely subjective and designed to let police look for tells that you’ve been drinking.  There’s really no good reason to participate in them.  The tests are hard and you’re probably nervous from being pulled over already, so chances are you’re going to stumble or in some way “fail” this subjective test, giving the officer ammo against you.  Your best bet is to tell the officer (again, clearly and politely) that you decline the test.  Make sure to tell the officer that you are declining the test because it is too subjective so they can’t spin the denial into being an excuse to do it for fear of being too drunk.

Chemical Tests

Chemical Tests are the  official test to determine whether or not there are drugs or alcohol in your system.  They can be done through blood draws, breath tests or urine tests.  While the test is not mandatory and you can refuse it, It is not advised to do so because if you are convicted of a DUI the penalties are much more harsh and you will lose your privilege to drive for a year without the possibility to get a restricted license.


If You Are Arrested

If you end up arrested for driving under the influence, it’s time to call Seneca Law Group at (619) 630-8529.  We’re experienced in DUI defense and can advise you of your options and guide you through the legal process to get the best outcome possible for you.


This blog is meant for informational purposes only.  This blog and its contents are not intended as legal advice and are only informational. Seneca Law Group is a law firm located in San Diego, California and any information in this blog is related only to California law. None of the information in this blog should be relied upon in court proceedings without consulting an attorney. Each case is different and the law is always changing.  If you have a legal problem please feel free to contact us today!

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