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Top Ten Tips > Fighting a DUI Arrest

4. Drinking After Driving

Drinking after driving defenseYour Sonoma DUI lawyer should explain that if you consumed alcohol subsequent to driving and prior to arrest, then the police officer's observations of your behavior later, and the alcohol test results later, cannot be an accurate reflection of your level of alcohol or impairment at the time of driving, which is actually the only legally relevant point in time; if you were drinking roadside, this may be a violation of the open container law, or perhaps even "drunk in public," or "attempted DUI," but if you weren't driving, or if you drank subsequent to driving, then these facts allow a Sonoma County DUI attorney to point to often fatal proof problems for the Sonoma County prosecutor and for the Santa Rosa DMV.

This defense is strongest for your Santa Rosa DUI lawyer when your test results show lower blood alcohol levels and/or if you offered a credible drinking history at the time you were interviewed by the Sonoma police before being arrested, and if there are disinterested witnesses (who don't know you) who can testify to the after-driving consumption, or if there is actual physical evidence to support the defense, such as 1/2 empty liquor bottles in the car, recent store receipts, etc. (see the Preserve Physical Evidence discussion in the Tips for the First 48 Hours articles on this site).

Sometimes the facts are present for such a defense, but at the time of arrest people think that they should deny they were drinking in the vehicle after stopping. This is a common error because people naturally don't want to admit to even further illegality when confronted by the police. But denying drinking after driving may very well destroy any chance your Sonoma County DUI lawyer might have had to present the defense and win your case in court or at the DMV hearing. See the related discussion of the 3-Hour Presumption in Tip #7.


Any result portrayed was dependent on the facts of that case, and the results will differ if based on different facts.

Our DUI Lawyers

Dave Jake Schwartz is an Honors Graduate from UC Hastings Law School, and UC Davis, former Federal Judicial Clerk, and Nationally Qualified Sobriety Tests Practitioner. Member of the California Bar for 30 years, Sonoma County resident for over 20 years, handles only DUI cases, including thousands of Sonoma County DUIs and DMV hearings: first/multiple offenders, minors, seniors, tourists, undocumented immigrants, veterans, probation violations, suspended license, public intoxication, open container, minor in possession, child endangerment, collisions, hit and run, evading, resisting arrest.


Dave Jake Schwartz