Once you've been stopped by a San Francisco police officer for a possible DUI, the officer has already made a decision that he or she has probable cause to stop you. As you roll down your window to talk to the officer, and the officer smells alcohol on your breath, the likelihood that you can leave at that point is slim. And then you begin to speak.
The most damaging evidence in a DUI case are the statements you make to the officer. Admissions of drinking, the amount you've consumed, and other responses to questions the officer is asking you. A San Francisco DUI attorney is going to try to determine if these damning statements can be suppressed under Miranda.
In a situation where you have been "arrested" the officer must give you your Miranda advisals: telling you that you have the right to remain silent, seek advice of an attorney, that anything you say can be used against you. The question becomes "when" you've been arrested. In a DUI case, the officer most likely has determined you are under the influence based on errative driving, slurred speech, the smell of alcohol, and other usual factors. Additional questions are asked in an effort to further allow you to incriminate yourself, and have the statements used against you in court. Without the advisals.
A qualified San Francisco DUI attorney will determine which statements are "spontaneous" and thus allowed into a trial, and those which are solicited after you are technically under arrest. Those statements can be suppressed because they were made without the Miranda advisal.
Beyond the obvious advice, which is to say nothing other than your name during an arrest, sometimes that advice goes out the window when you are in a panic, or are attempting to get out of a DUI at the road stop. It doesn't work. If you remain silent, there are no statements to suppress. If you talked too much, hire a DUI attorney to get those statements thrown out.
What can you do when you are pulled over for a DUI by the San Francisco Police Department? Here are some basic things you can do, and have the right to do:
1. If you see the police lights, try to pull over carefully, but not too carefully. Show you are in command of your vehicle. Turn on your turn signal. Slow down and brake gradually.
2. How do you look? Is your shirt tucked in, do you look ruffled or disheavaled? Is your makeup smeared? Make adjustments accordingly before you roll down the window.
3. Remember that the police officer is noting EVERYTHING you do and say. The first impression is most important. In other words, be nice to the officer, be cooperative, and not defensive.
4. Before you go out for the evening, put your car registration and insurance in an easily accessible place in your car. Make sure you can easily find your driver's license. It saves you searching your vehicle while you're nervous.
5. You should remember that you do not have to submit to a preliminary breath test. This test is used by the officer to determine whether to arrest you. You also do not have to submit to the field sobriety tests. Will this get you out of an arrest? Probably not, but these tests are unreliable, and will be used against you.
6. Other than your name and address, you do not have to talk to the officer about your activities. Invoke your right to an attorney during any questioning.
A qualified California DUI attorney can help advise you regarding your rights during a stop, and if you have been stopped and subsequently arrested, the DUI attorney can evaluate the circumstances of the stop to determine if anything was done improperly.
If you have been arrested for a DUI in San Francisco or the Bay Area, there is the tendency to simply admit you're guilty, and avoid the costs of hiring a qualified DUI attorney. In some criminal cases, such as traffic tickets, that may be the case. In a DUI, it is not, especially in California.
The DUI arrest itself has already created chaos in your life for you and your loved ones. Having an experienced attorney on your side will minimize the stress related to a DUI.
This is especially true when you are looking at your second or third or more DUI charge. The punishments go up incrementally each time. Also, if there are extentuating circumstances in your case that could increase the punishment, such as driving under the age of 21, having minor children in the vehicle, or having a high BAC. You need to hire a qualified DUI lawyer.
If you are in an accident, and someone, even you, have been injured, there are a multiitude of reasons why you need an attorney, not only for the DUI, but also the tangent consequences of the injuries, including a possible civil lawsuit.
The results of a DUI conviction can be costly to you and your loved ones. You could lose your job if you lose your license. You could spend time in jail. You could pay large fines and penalties. An experienced lower can reduce or minimize these consequences, or get rid of the DUI charge all together.
In other words, i you don’t know what you need to do, or what steps you need to take, hire a DUI attorney. A qualified San Francisco DUI attorney can walk you through the steps of the entire DUI process at the criminal level and the Department of Motor Vehicles. The attorney can review the facts of your case and challenge the charge in a trial, or plea bargain a better dea.
Can you control the breath test? In other words, can you fool a breathalyzer into showing a lower BAC reading? The answer is No.
There are a lot of people who believe certain myths regarding a breathalyzer and BAC. For example, sucking on pennies does not lower a BAC reading. Breath mints? No. They only mask the odor of alcohol, they do not change the alcohol content being measured. Indeed, you don’t have to drink alcohol to get arrested for a DUI, because the human body produces its own supply of alcohol naturally on a continuous basis. Therefore, we always have alcohol in our bodies and in some cases, some people produce enough to become legally intoxicated.
Are breathalyzers are always accurate? No, and many errors are made in tests because they lack precision. The police or sheriff department official administering the test can also affect the results of a test.
So what can you do? A qualified San Francisco DUI attorney can examine the test procedures, as well as the accuracy of the results. The attorney can determine if there were errors, or if there are other factors effecting the final read out. Don't assume the BAC taken at the police station is accurate. You may not be able to control the results of the breathalyzer, but your attorney can control how those results are used. In some cases, the results can be voided.