Getting pulled over for a DUI is a situation you hope you’re never in, but if you are, you will wish you knew these five tips from an ex-cop.

  1. Do not try to talk your way out of it.

Police officers have heard every excuse you will attempt to pull out, as a former Deputy Sheriff for Los Angeles County, Jeffrey Salberg would know. Instead of trying to tell the officer an elaborate story, which will most likely be used to incriminate you, Mr. Salberg advises clients to instead respond with:

“Officer, I want to cooperate with you, but I can’t answer any of your questions on the advice of my attorney.”

Keep in mind that most officers in the U.S. now wear body cameras, so you have to assume that you are being taped or recorded. It is critically important to remain calm and respectful.

  1. Submitting a blood test is not necessarily better than opting for a Breathalyzer.

This is a common misconception for those arrested for DUI. This stems from the logic that driving to the hospital to draw blood will take more time, and thus give you more time for your BAC to go down. However, because your BAC rate decreases only .02% per hour, submitting a blood test will likely produce the same result as a Breathalyzer.

Instead of asking for a blood test, tell the officer:

“Officer, I would be happy to go back to the station with you and complete a Breathalyzer.”

Going back to the station may seem like you are surrendering, but in fact you are giving your attorney a chance to fix things on the back end, instead of immediately incriminating yourself. Further, being cooperative and respectful with the officer will only benefit you.

  1. You do not have to do complete Field Sobriety Tests.

Everyone is familiar with the series of tests officers will ask you to complete when they pull you over for DUI – touching the tip of your nose, walking in a straight line, etc. What most people don’t know is that you are actually NOT legally obligated to complete these Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs).

FSTs are inherently designed to prove you are intoxicated so that the officer has probable cause to arrest you. According to California law, there must be 15 minutes of continuous, uninterrupted observation time before the officer can give you a Breathalyzer. During these 15 minutes, the officer will attempt to establish a timeline of events to build a case against you. By respectfully refusing to complete the FSTs, you drastically reduce the bulk of the timeline.

Common things that happen during the 15-minute period that can affect your BAC are:

  • Burping or belching
  • Vomiting
  • Consuming alcohol or any other substance during the observation period
  • The arresting officer was distracted by taking notes, radio dispatch, directing traffic, dealing with other people who were in the car, etc.
  1. You can deny a PAS, but should not deny a Breathalyzer.

Unless you live in Kansas, where the state’s Supreme Court ruled Friday that denying a breathalyzer is protected under the drivers’ Fourth Amendment right, then you should not deny a breathalyzer.

Refusing a breathalyzer may seem like a reasonable way to prevent ending up in handcuffs – however, in California, doing so will automatically result in the suspension of your driver’s license for one year. Additionally, refusing to take a Breathalyzer can be used against you in a court of law.

Before you have been arrested, you can deny a Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) test, which the officer will use to determine probable cause that you have been drinking. Although, if the officer has any further reason to believe you are under the influence, they can arrest you and you will be required to take a Breathalyzer. Remain calm and know that a BAC over the legal limit does not necessarily mean you will get a DUI on your record.

  1. Make sure you call your attorney immediately.

Remember: DUI arrest does not always equal DUI conviction. Call Salberg as soon as possible, and he will find every way to fight your DUI.

In several cases, Salberg says that the state won’t even file DUI charges, especially if the person in question has no prior convictions.

“I’ve seen people get out of jail the next morning with a plea deal saying ‘agree to this reckless driving ticket and we’ll drop your case,’” he explains. “Without the evidence provided from a breathalyzer or FST it’s much tougher to convict someone of a DUI.”

Have you recently been pulled over for a DUI? If so, Better call Salberg.