A DUI arrest in Huntington Beach is serious, but don’t lose hope. Even if the evidence against you seems solid, it’s rarely the full truth. Good DUI defense lawyers will know how to look for issues like testing errors (which are surprisingly common with blood and breathalyzer tests) or officer mistakes during investigations. Chances are, you have more of a defense than you think. Get in touch with a Huntington Beach DUI lawyer today so you can find out how your best case scenario can pan out.
We can get you in touch with a full qualified DUI lawyer who understands the unique nature of these cases. They’ll get to work immediately looking at the evidence and pointing out any weak points that will help you during the process—possibly avoiding the need to go to trial, getting you a weaker sentence, or even getting you off completely. Call us today at (310) 862-0199 for a FREE case evaluation consultation with one of the top lawyers in the area.
What Should I Do If I’m Pulled Over for DUI in Huntington Beach?
If you get pulled over for a DUI, the best piece of advice is to avoid any behavior that could put you further in jeopardy during the stop. Here are seven things you should do right away:
1. Carefully find an area to pull over.
As soon as an officer pulls you over under the suspicion of DUI, he or she will look for anything suspicious that they can note in their police report. The officer is already pulling you over because they say something that made them think you’re driving impaired or drunk, which you can’t really change, but you can possibly influence what they put in their report after stopping you. The police report is vital to any hearings and your criminal trial related to the DUI.
During any traffic stop, it’s important to pull over safely out of the way of other traffic. The officer will be observing how you do this. They’ll look for unnaturally slow or erratic driving, pulling into an unsafe place, or any of type of unusual driving patterns.
2. Don’t move suddenly or act suspiciously as the officer approaches.
Police officers know to be cautious and ready to protect themselves if someone acts shady. They will approach your vehicle from the back so they can clearly see you. If you as a driver intended to attack or pull out a gun, for example, they’d have a clear view to defend themselves.
Avoiding any actions that could increase suspicion and put the officer on guard, such as:
- Twisting around in your seat to watch the officer walk up
- Making any sudden movements
- Jumping out of your car, or getting out in any way
- Crouching down in your seat
- Reaching for anything in your car—it’s best to keep your hands on the wheel and sit quietly as they approach
3. Be courteous.
Always be respectful. This seems obvious, but it can be hard to remember in the moment. Be polite to the officer as they approach and ask you questions. Don’t be rude, sarcastic, or hostile, as this just gives them further reason to arrest you and increase your chances of being convicted.
The officer is likely to go easier on you in their police report if you’re sincerely cooperative, helpful, and friendly. This includes getting out of your car if they ask you to (if not, you could be charged with resisting arrest) and complying with all other requests.
4. Don’t answer questions that could incriminate you.
Note: This does not mean you should lie. You’ll be asked for your name, driver’s license and registration, and insurance information. Provide these to the officer.
Then, they will likely ask if you’ve been drinking and how much you’ve had to drink. Officers are trained to use any anxiety you have about pulling over against you. If you’re concerned your truthful answer to this will incriminate yourself, respond politely with, “I’m sorry, officer, but I don’t wish to answer these questions, thank you.”
Otherwise, any inconsistencies in your answers will be used against you in court. You may be further pressured and arrested, as well as lose your license, but this outcome is less severe than going to jail because you gave answers that incriminated you.
If you did only have one or two drinks that you don’t believe put you over the legal limit, you may use your own discretion whether you say so. However, if in doubt, saying nothing—but NOT lying—is the best policy.
5. Decline the field sobriety tests.
Field sobriety tests (FSTs) are a standard step in the DUI investigation after an officer has pulled you over. FSTs are physical tests that an officer will ask you to perform if they suspect you’re intoxicated. You might be asked to:
- Walk along a narrow line
- Stand or hop on one leg
- Follow an object with your eyes
There are many problems with these tests, including that they aren’t always fair and can be used as grounds to arrest you instead of help prove you’re sober. Once an officer believes you’re driving under the influence, there’s no way to “pass” since almost anyone—even a sober person—is bound to make a mistake on the tests at some point. This is especially true if you’re nervous or shaky about being pulled over.
The best choice for most Huntington Beach drivers is to politely decline to perform the FSTs and not provide further incriminating evidence. You’ll likely be arrested for DUI for this refusal, but chances are the officer planned to arrest you for it anyway.
6. Write down everything you can remember.
As soon as possible after the DUI arrest, record your memories of the incident, including:
- Where you were and what you were doing before you got in the car
- What you drank, and how much, including how long it had been between the drinks and getting pulled over
- What the officer said to you and how they behaved
- Where the stop happened
- Whether or not the officer read you your Miranda rights
- When you took the chemical test and how long it had been since you drank
- What you were wearing if you took the sobriety tests (as even little details like this can affect the results)
The more details you can remember and write down about the arrest, the more it can help your lawyer fight your charges—even if a detail doesn’t seem particularly relevant at the time.
7. Call a lawyer.
The best thing you can do for yourself to fight for your right to hire an experienced DUI defense attorney. They will understand the laws and process around DUIs to fight for your best outcome.
Speak with a Huntington Beach DUI Lawyer Today
We can get you in touch the best DUI lawyer for your specific case and situation. Plus, they’ll offer you a no-obligation, FREE, consultation as soon as possible. Call us at (310) 862-0199, or complete the form to the right to get started.