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Santa Clara County DUI Defense AttorneysIt is that festive time of year with the Christmas and New Year’s holiday soon to be upon us. ‘Tis the season for work parties or get-togethers with friends and relatives. Many of these gatherings involve traveling but can also involve cocktails. If people are going to partake in alcoholic beverages, they should always appoint a designated driver who remains sober. However, if a person has one or two drinks, he or she might think it is OK to drive. Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol impairs a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely. This impairment can cause a car crash, resulting in severe injuries or death.  

Know Your Limit

Many states have created drinking and driving prevention programs in an effort to reduce the number of car accidents caused by intoxicated drivers. Still, drunk driving is a leading cause of vehicle crashes that result in serious injuries and even fatalities. Reports from the California Highway Patrol (CHP) show there were 1,140 DUI arrests over the 2019 New Year holiday, and at least 36 people were killed in car accidents. 

Everyone’s tolerance for drinking alcoholic beverages is different depending on body type as well as the kind of alcohol. For example, the percentage of grain alcohol in beer or wine is typically less than what is found in hard liquor like vodka, gin, bourbon, or whiskey.  

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What Should You Do if You are Pulled Over for Driving Under the Influence?

What to do if you are pulled over for DUIBeing stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence can be a frightening experience, because the penalties for DUI in California are severe. However, if you are pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, the last thing you should do is panic. Instead, you should remember your rights and take certain actions that can later help you in court if you are arrested.

After you are stopped by law enforcement on suspicion of driving under the influence, there are a few steps you should take to ensure that the DUI charges against you have a weak basis in court:

  1. Remember that you are not free to leave. While you are not in custody, you are considered detained when stopped by the police. Therefore, you are not free to leave even if you have not been arrested yet.
  2. Decline to answer questions. You are permitted to refuse to answer any incriminating questions. Keep in mind, however, that you must provide the police with your vehicle registration, driver’s license, and auto insurance.
  3. Refuse participation in field sobriety tests. You can refuse to participate in any field sobriety test. Field sobriety tests are physical tests that may require you to stand on one foot or walk in a straight line. These tests do not accurately determine whether the participant is intoxicated. In addition, if a suspected person is nervous or is confused by the officer’s questions, he or she may perform poorly on the test, which may result in the officer deeming the suspected person intoxicated.
  4. Do not refuse a chemical test. Although you may refuse to take a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test, you cannot refuse required chemical tests that determine your blood-alcohol content (BAC). If you do refuse to take a chemical test, you may be fined, imprisoned if convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol, and your driving privileges will be suspended for up to one year if it is your first offense. 
  5. You can choose which type of test to take. If you do agree to submit to a chemical test, you will be given the choice of either a breath or blood test. A breath test can be easily challenged in court; however, a breath sample cannot be retested, while a blood test can. You may be required to submit to a blood test if the police officer has reasonable cause to believe that you were driving under the influence of a drug or both a drug and alcohol.

Contact Our San Jose Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you are being charged with DUI, contact the San Jose DUI lawyers at the Law Offices of Erik Steven Johnson. There are many possible defenses to a drunk driving test refusal or DUI charge. An experienced attorney can challenge the chemical tests used to determine whether a driver is under the influence. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 408-246-3004.

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