According to an article printed in the San Jose Mercury News on March 5, a San Rafael man’s evening started out bad when an off-duty Alameda County Sheriff’s Deputy spotted him on Highway 101 in Novato driving erratically. The deputy reported the sighting and the CHP quickly pulled the man over. After allegedly seeing open containers of alcohol in the car the officers asked the man to perform field sobriety tests (FSTs). During the instructions the man tried running from the cops, who quickly caught him.
Possibly he ran because he knew that the officers were about to find out that he had three prior driving under the influence (DUI) convictions. Under California law, the prosecutor has the option of filing a DUI as a felony if the defendant has either three prior DUI convictions within 10 years or one prior felony DUI conviction within 10 years. The punishment for a felony DUI can be up to three years in the state prison.
Obviously, running from officers rarely helps your case. It can be used as “consciousness of guilt” by the prosecutor. That means that the DA can ask the jury to infer that you ran from the officers because you knew you were guilty. It’s the closest thing to a confession. It also allows the DA to add a misdemeanor charge of resisting an officer.
If you are being detained or arrested by the police, it is good advice to comply with the orders of the officers. You don’t have to agree to any requests, such as searching your possessions or giving a statement. However, the best thing is usually to clearly tell the officer that you are not consenting, but then comply with his orders. Let your attorney fight the cops on your behalf later in court.
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