Del Mar Criminal Lawyer & DUI Defense Attorney

Protecting the Rights of Individuals Accused of Crimes—Del Mar Criminal Lawyer

Many people have experienced stressful encounters with a police officer or a law enforcement agency. These can include seeing flashing red lights in your rearview mirror, feeling the cold steel of handcuffs being slapped on your wrists or listening to the disquieting sound of a jail cell slamming shut. The fear and anxiety of knowing the oppressive power of the state is being directed at an individual often motivates citizens to panic and waive important rights that include the right to counsel, right to remain silent (right against self-incrimination) and Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure.

The decision to waive these important rights can haunt you forever because many of the people locked up in county jails and the California State Prison System would be free if they had exercised their rights not to speak to the police and to have a criminal defense lawyer present during any questioning. When Del Mar criminal defense lawyer David M. Boertje is contacted immediately after someone has been arrested or has learned that they are the subject of a law enforcement investigation, the prospects of a more desirable outcome increase dramatically. Mr. Boertje can protect your interests during interrogations and assert your right not to be subject to a search of your home or office. He works to limit the scope of the inquiry and investigation, which can prevent formal charges from being filed or result in less serious or fewer charges being filed by the prosecutor.

What Not To Do If You Have Been Arrested or Targeted for Investigation

Police Station Interrogations/Arrests

Law enforcement agencies rely on the inherent intimidation involved in being interrogated by an armed police officer with the power to arrest you. The oppressive environment of a police station can motivate innocent people to make ill-advised admissions or to give consent to searches that would otherwise be unlawful. Sometimes police officers will even delay an arrest so that they do not have to provide a Miranda advisement of rights. If you have been arrested by the police, you should take the following steps to protect your rights:

  1. You should immediately and clearly indicate you are not comfortable talking until you have an attorney present.
  2. You should retain legal counsel immediately if you are arrested or brought in for an interview.
  3. If the officers indicate that they would like you to consent to a search of your home or to submit a DNA or blood sample, you should indicate that you do not consent. While the officers might disregard your refusal, your decision to give consent can cure defects in terms of lack of probable cause, a faulty warrant or an otherwise improper search.
  4. If you have not be informed that you are under arrest, you should ask if you are free to leave. While the officer may not allow you to leave the station, this can trigger important constitutional protection.

DUI/Traffic Stops

Because many people are pulled over and subjected to a DUI investigation while navigating the streets of Del Mar, we have highlighted some special steps to take in this situation. Most DUI stops begin with a motorist being pulled over for a traffic violation or “erratic driving” that provides an indicia of impaired driving (i.e. DUI/DWI). When the initial stop occurs, the officer may have sufficient legal basis to justify a brief stop but not enough evidence to constitute probable cause for a DUI arrest. What happens during the stop will influence whether you are arrested and/or prosecuted, so we have provided the following suggestions:

Do Not Answer Questions: The officer will likely attempt to engage you in a conversation to obtain incriminating statements and to observe your physical condition and demeanor. While you are required to provide your driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance, you should not answer questions like:

Where are you coming from?
Have you had anything to drink tonight?
How much alcohol have you consumed?
Where are you headed?

The officer is looking for you to admit that you have been drinking so that the officer has additional evidence to support initiating a DUI investigation. During this interaction, the officer will also be looking for the following indicia of intoxication:

  • Watery/bloodshot eyes
  • Slurred speech
  • Odor of alcohol on your breath
  • Lack of coordination

Refuse Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs) and Portable Breath Tests: After asking these types of questions, the officer typically will ask you to perform field sobriety tests and to submit to a portable breath test called a preliminary alcohol screening device. There is no legal requirement that you consent to either of these forms of testing, which are designed to provide probable cause for a DUI arrest. A graceful way to execute such a refusal is to ask if the tests are a hundred percent accurate. The officer will not be able to indicate that the tests have this high degree of accuracy, which allows you to indicate you are uncomfortable consenting without talking to your attorney. Since you have really nothing to gain from submitting to these testing procedures, you should politely decline to participate these tests. The portable breath test is different than a formal breath test back at the police station because there are negative consequences to refusing the formal breath test, such as losing your driver’s license for a year and other penalty enhancements. Therefore, you must submit to either the formal breath test or a blood test, and the police officer must read you an admonition that informs you of the possible consequences of losing your driver’s license for a year if you refuse to consent to either the blood or formal breath test.

The officer might arrest you if you do not cooperate, but refusing the field sobriety tests and asking if you can leave can provide a firm foundation for your defense by your Del Mar criminal defense attorney. And very likely if you do submit to the field sobriety tests, you will be arrested anyways, regardless of your results on the preliminary alcohol screening device.

What Can Del Mar Criminal Defense Lawyer David M. Boertje Do to Help?

When you promptly assert your rights to have a Del Mar criminal lawyer present before answering any questions, you provide the best opportunity for your attorney to help minimize the impact of your arrest for a felony or misdemeanor. David M. Boertje can shield you from inappropriate questions, protect you from inadvertently making damaging admissions and identify illegal police tactics. If our Del Mar criminal defense law firm is retained prior to your arrest or the filing of formal charges, we might even be able to prevent an arrest or influence the investigation so that you face fewer or less serious charges.

Mr. Boertje aggressively pursues all available defenses including factual, legal and procedural defenses. While the appropriate defense strategies in your case will depend on the unique facts, some of the defenses that we may employ include:

  • Challenging the validity of a search warrant
  • Seeking exclusion of evidence obtained in an unlawful search
  • Suppressing evidence obtained in violation of Miranda rights
  • Demonstrating the prosecutor has not met the burden of proof
  • Using cross examination to expose lies, misstatements and inconsistencies by witnesses
  • Establishing a lack of reasonable suspicion for an initial “Terry stop” or lack of probable cause for arrest
  • Exposing improper handling of evidence and unreliable forensic testing results
  • Revealing chain of custody issues
  • Exposing police misconduct and bias

If you or someone close to you has been arrested, we encourage you to contact us to discuss your situation and potential defenses. We invite you to visit us in our San Diego or Carlsbad office which are both near Del Mar so that we can evaluate your case, explain your rights and outline potential defense strategies. Mr. Boertje can meet with you during regular business hours and also on weekends or evenings if necessary and returns calls 24 hours/7 days per week. Call us today at (619) 229-1870 or (760) 476-0901 to arrange a free no obligation confidential consultation. You also can also submit an inquiry by completing the form on our Contact Us page or emailing us.