By Dale Gribow

People flood to the desert to enjoy some of our biggest attractions and besides Coachella and Stagecoach there is not much bigger than BNP TENNIS which started this week. People sit in the stands and walk around in the hot sun watching tennis and drinking, or enjoying music. They do not realize how much they had consumed let alone how it has affected them. Sometimes the effect of the alcohol does not take place until they have been driving for a few miles.

Because of instances like this there are more DUI FATALITIES in the Coachella Valley, per capita, than anywhere else in California. Thus it is logical that DUI arrests and fatalities spike during Concerts and Tennis. Naturally our law enforcement agencies become more vigilant on these weekends.


Tennis and Concerts bring out DUI checkpoints. These checkpoints are legal, as long as the police follow certain protocols. Everyone questions if you can turn around at a DUI Checkpoint? Though you are not required to drive through a checkpoint and thus can turn at a side street, you must follow all traffic laws. Illegal U-turns or erratic driving can get you pulled over, even if avoiding the checkpoint can’t.

Drunk Drivers hit the road at night before and after concerts and tennis. Many drivers have been drinking all day and then drive at night. The odds favor the police that a good percentage of the drivers will have been drinking. Once the officer has probable cause, or a reason to stop the driver, then if they smell alcohol they can investigate further. If they see a bag of drugs or a gun on the seat, they can likewise look into the propriety of an arrest for those charges.

When stopped, the impaired driver usually makes many mistakes. They are not aware, unless they read my weekly legal column, that the field sobriety and breath test at the scene are optional. Thus you do not have to take the walk the line, finger to nose, reciting the alphabet backwards and other so called field sobriety tests. Likewise the breath test at the scene (unless you are on probation) is optional.

A driver stopped and offered DUI tests should be cooperative and politely say that their attorney is Dale Gribow and he advised them not to talk without calling him for permission. Explain “they have been advised Field Sobriety Tests and the Breath Test, at the scene, are optional. If that is correct Officer, then I elect not to take them. State you are “happy to cooperate with law enforcement and take a blood test.” Remember – Silence is Golden and Handcuffs are Silver so DON’T TALK to the POLICE without your lawyer’s permission

Drivers want to know if Drug Swabs are legal. Not only is it illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol, it is also illegal to drive under the combined influence of alcohol and drugs or drugs alone. This is true even if the drugs are prescribed by doctors. A Blood test allows the police to run the driver for drugs, unlike a breath test. So if you have been drinking AND have taken some prescriptive or non-prescriptive drugs that warn not to mix with alcohol, take the breath test.

With an increase in arrests, drivers will spend more time in holding cells before release. Normally a driver is held for 4 or more hours. The higher the DUI reading, the longer one’s time in custody. However, during tennis and concert weekends the increase in arrests congest the system and slows down the process. If arrested on a Friday you might not go before the judge until Monday or Tuesday … if not released or have posted bail.

“Though I am sometimes referred to as a DUI criminal defense lawyer, I choose to not view my clients as ‘criminals’. I prefer to view them and more importantly to treat them as good, honest people that have found themselves in a scary and unfortunate situation.”

I look upon my job as protecting the Constitutional Rights of every American who drinks and drives and gets arrested for a DUI.

I do however “Change Hats” when I SUE Drunk Drivers for damages to my Injured or Deceased (Wrongful Death) clients.


If you have any questions regarding this column or ideas for future columns please contact Dale Gribow 760-837-7500 or


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