What Are The Common Mistakes That People Make After A DUI Arrest?
The most common mistake people make is they don’t call us right away. I’d think people would remember the number 888-4 TOP GUN not because it’s heard so often in the media but by not calling us right away, they sometimes lose their opportunity to contest a license suspension with the DMV. The DMV must be contacted within 10 days. In order stop the suspension from going into effect we request a hearing.
There is a secondary mistake people make which is when the police give somebody who is arrested for DUI alcohol or DUI drugs, oftentimes referred to DUID, the police give them a pink temporary license and takes their driver’s license, and there is a phone number on there that you are supposed to call. I hear so often that people try and call that phone number and either they can’t get through or it’s a recording or they are not able to navigate the maze that they sometimes have to navigate when they call and they just give up and they just don’t contact us until after 10 days of the arrest. Having said that, we are still oftentimes able to make a late hearing request and have it granted. So we are still able to stop the suspension from going into effect and get the person a temporary license which will extend beyond 30 days the temporary license that the police gives out.
Another common mistake people make is when they try and contact the DMV themselves, they actually walk into a nearby or local DMV office. That is absolutely not the correct way to protect their right to drive and to stave off the suspension or stop the suspension from going into effect in the hearing. On almost every occasion, we are told that when they go into the DMV, the clerk or the person at the DMV office tells them that there is nothing you can do about this and your license will be suspended 30 days after your arrest. So there are direct lines that we have with the DMV that attorneys use on a regular basis so that we can get through to the DMV generally without any problems. So the biggest mistake that people make is not protecting themselves by contacting us right away so that we can contact the DMV and help save their license.
The other problem that people make by not contacting us right away is the closer in time to the arrest that we are able to talk to new clients, the better we are able to help the client capture what exactly happened when they got arrested both through a comprehensive intake that we do on the phone or when they first come into the office although nowadays most people just want to pick up the phone and talk to us and hire us. We also do a thorough follow up investigation with our clients so it’s extremely important that they get in touch with us right away. In addition, in accident cases it is very critical to contact us right away before they call anybody else so that we could get a clear understanding of what transpired and when the client needs to contact their insurance company to make the claim that’s also a very significant step that needs to be dealt with too from the outset.
Can You Walk Me Through What Happens Once Someone Is Pulled Over On Suspicion Of DUI?
I’ll talk about a few different scenarios. First, when somebody is generally, and this is how most DUI arrests occur, when somebody is driving and they commit a traffic violation in a police officer’s presence, the police officer will put on what’s called the Wig Wag Lights and/or siren to indicate that the person needs to pull over. Once a person pulls over the officer will approach and most of the time, the officer’s beam lights are actually in the person’s rear view mirror and side mirrors. So the light is actually shined into the face and eyes of the driver to somewhat try and neutralize them. That’s a tactic that police use. The officer will approach and the window will be rolled down.
The purpose of the officer to have the window rolled down is so that the officer could be able to hear clearly what’s being said by the driver as well as being able to smell whatever is in the car, be it alcohol or drugs. Oftentimes people who are pulled over for driving under the influence of drugs, especially marijuana have been smoking pot in the car before they were driving which is not necessarily a smart move. The officer will ask for license and registration, engage the driver in conversation to observe speech patterns as well. The officer usually will go back to the car, run the license plates and the driver’s license number to see what type of person they are dealing with or the officer will just ask the person to get out of the car at that point in time.
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The person will then be walked along the driver’s side of the car, usually the back of the car up to the curb or the side of the freeway and an investigation will occur where the officer will ask a whole series of incriminating questions and more often than not people answer all the questions and usually in an incriminating manner. The next step will be where the officer will do field sobriety tests and there are various different field sobriety tests that the police agencies give although they have started to be more standardized in not just California but all across the nation. After the field sobriety tests are conducted, the officers will generally ask the person if they are willing to submit to a portable breath test. It’s called a PAS breath test machine which is handheld, in my opinion not too accurate at all.
Sometimes police try to be either tricky or they try and do it so they don’t increase any risk of injury or an escalated situation. The police would say I want to do one more field sobriety test. They are going to ask the person will turn around. The officer will then take the subject by the wrists and put them behind their back and put the handcuffs on. Then the person is taken and put in the back of the police car and then taken to jail. That’s generally what happens. On the way back or at the jailhouse, the officer will admonish that in California that they consent to give a sample of their breath or blood. It’s more expansive than what I’m saying now but that’s the general gist of it and if they don’t the officers are supposed to explain the consequences if they refuse.
People usually select the breath test but sometimes people will select a blood test as well. There are many different reasons why a breath test is not administered or a blood test is administered after the person is given a breath test in California. Then the officer is supposed to and usually does admonish the person that the breath test machine doesn’t save a sample of their breath, if the person would like a blood test they can be tested later that both sides can use in court. So that’s the scenario which happens when someone is pulled over for some type of driving pattern.
When a person drives through a checkpoint, usually those are good cases as well. This is because when a person approaches the first officer at a DUI checkpoint, the officer will either wave the person through or engage the person in conversation just like it was a regular police stop. Based on the officer’s observation at the window at that point in time, the officer then may direct the person to drive to another location. To my way of thinking, this shows that the person is not impaired by alcohol because the officer that stopped them directed them to another location in order to further investigate.
Now when the person goes to the other location then the process begins again where the person is to present their driver’s license and registration, identify themselves. They are asked to get out of the car and then a full blown DUI investigation ensues. Another way that people get arrested for DUI is when there is an accident. Oftentimes at accident scenes our clients are no longer in their car. They’re either on the side of the road, this is where there are no injuries and minor fender bender damage or they hit a parked car or they drive off the road and run into a wall. There are a whole bunch of different scenarios in which a person can be investigated for driving under the influence in an accident scenario.
The officer will then approach the person who is the driver of the car, identify the driver of the car and at that point conduct a DUI investigation. Another scenario and there are many, this is not an exhaustive list but another scenario is when a person is sleeping in his car. Sometimes people are sleeping in the driver’s seat with the keys in the car and the ignition running. We’ve also represented people who were sleeping in the back seat of their car and the keys were not in the ignition and the engine hood wasn’t warm. In a scenario like that the police officer will approach the vehicle and knock on the window and then wake up the individual who is in the car.
Another scenario and this happens every once in a while where a person is at a red light and the foot is on the brake and the car is still in drive and they are actually sleeping at the intersection. This often happens in the wee hours of the morning. Somebody will call the police because the light keeps turning yellow, green, red and the driver is asleep. People actually do fall asleep at intersections and their foot stays on the brake. This is a strange kind of phenomena but it does happen and of course another example would be there would be a 911 call where somebody sees a person driving on the freeway or off the freeway driving in a manner that appears to be erratic.
Many times it’s not impaired driving but it’s somebody looking at their cell phone or trying to change the radio or they drop something and are trying to reach but it’s that sudden move that could trigger a 911 call. A description of the vehicle and the driver that is observed is given to the 911 call and the police department will radio that out and then the patrolling officers will then begin to try and locate that person. So 911 calls where there was this brief period of a second or two of driving and then 5 or 10 minutes go by and there is absolutely no bad driving whatsoever but again it triggers a stop and a potential DUI arrest.
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