Driving Under the Influence
California no longer uses the term “drunk driving.” Now, it is called “Driving Under the Influence” (DUI). It is illegal not only driving with alcohol level above the legal limit but also driving under influence of drugs and medications, even prescription medication. California “DUI” law applies to any substances that you consume which impairs your ability to drive.
When the police stop a driving vehicle, it is called traffic stop. The police cannot arbitrarily stop any driving vehicles. The police must have “probable cause” that the driver or the vehicle is violating law. The statistics shows that traffic stop is one of the most dangerous jobs for police officers, and the officers are closely observing any sudden or suspicious behavior. For your safety, if you are stopped, wait for the officer to approach with both of your hands visible and on the steering wheel. When asked for driver’s license, registration, etc., it is a good idea to tell the officer “I am reaching to my back pocket for my wallet and for my driver’s license” etc. If you are stopped by undercover, unmarked, non-uniformed officer and you have doubts that the officer may be impersonators, you are entitled to ask for the marked and uniformed officer to be called.
Interrogation and Arrest
Every time the policy stop you and ask you question is not considered an “interrogation” in legal sense. The legal definition of interrogation is questioning by the policy or its agents when the person being questioned feels that he is being detained and is not free to leave. When the police “interrogate” you, the policy need to give you the Miranda warning (“you have a right to remain silent. But if you do speak, it could be used against you …. You have a right to attorney…”).
When you are arrested with DUI, you will be taken to the police station in the area. There, you will be required to perform chemical test. If you refuse (or considered to have refused) the test, your driver’s license will be suspended. This suspension is very hard to overturn. Based on the chemical test result, the police make a decision of arresting you or not. The police also issues order suspending driving privileges. When you post bond, you could be released. You will be provided with the day for your arraignment (your first court date). However, suspension of driver’s license has to be contested with DMV and must be within 10 days of the arrest date.