The Orange County Sheriff’s Department announced today their “Holiday Weekend Crackdown” on drunk drivers. They say they will be out with an “aggressive DUI enforcement policy.” They are also conducting a DUI checkpoint in the city of Mission Viejo Friday, July 3rd from 7 p.m. until 3 a.m. The specific location within the city was not disclosed. They’re also doing “Saturation Patrols” within the cities patrolled by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
Just because they assign extra officers to a “task force” doesn’t mean they get to relax the rules. As I’ve written before, the law doesn’t change based on the label the officer puts on his patrol. They still must have a valid reason to stop and even begin their investigation – not just a hunch because it’s around 2 in the morning or because they’re out trying to “find” a DUI.
Be safe and of course, the best policy is to not drink and drive. If you do find yourself the subject of a DUI investigation, remember these tips:
Even though they may not be required to read you your Miranda rights, they’ll be asking questions designed to gather evidence against you. You can respectfully decline to answer.
Field sobriety tests are voluntary (but law enforcement won’t tell you that).
The roadside breath test is also voluntary (they may not explain that either).
The only test you are required to do under California law is a chemical test following a lawful arrest. If they feel they have enough and arrest you, you must submit to one of the test options or face a mandatory suspension of your license. Of course, if they didn’t have enough evidence and the arrest is unlawful, the subsequent blood alcohol test is inadmissible. Why help them gather evidence by doing the sobriety tests and “unofficial” breathalizer?
If things go horribly wrong and you’re charged with a DUI, you only have 10 days to request a hearing with the DMV to protect your license. If that’s the situation and you’d like to discuss your case further, give me a call.