What to do If You’re Suspected of a DUI
No one expects to get pulled over for a DUI; in fact, many people feel fine when they get behind the wheel of a car, not realizing that they are inebriated. Unfortunately, you can quickly find yourself in a tricky situation if you get pulled over due to suspected drunk driving. Due to misconceptions about what you should do when suspected of a DUI, you could quickly find yourself in hot water if you do not take the right steps upon being pulled over. This makes it critical that you know what to do if you are stopped by an officer for a suspected DUI, as taking the proper precautions can ensure your safety and protect your rights. Here is a quick look at what you should do if you are ever pulled over due to suspected DUI.
Being pulled over for a DUI can be a scary/unsettling experience. However, no matter how rattled you are, it is important that you maintain composure and act in a calm, assured manner. Remember, something in your driving has made the cop suspicious, so every move you make will be included in the police report. Thusly, as soon as the cop tries to pull you over, use your signal, pull over, and come to a safe and complete stop in a safe location. If you pull over erratically, and/or you come to a stop too quickly, this could reaffirm the officer’s belief that you are under the influence. Once you have pulled over, remain in your vehicle with your hands on the wheel. If you make any sudden movements, or you try to get out of your car as the cop approaches, they may see you as a threat.
Once the cop approaches you, and you begin interacting with them, it is critical that you are polite at all times. It is likely that the officer has audio/video recording devices on them, and anything you say or do that makes you seem belligerent, rude, or drunk could be used against you later on. Use respect when conversing with the officer, and do not act in a defensive or combative manner. Being friendly and polite can go a long way in preventing an arrest. If you act sarcastic, off-putting, or just plain rude, they may go out of their way to ensure a conviction. Remember, it is likely that the officer will request that you step out of the vehicle. It is imperative that you comply, as refusing will likely be seen as resisting arrest. As you step out of the vehicle, try to do so without leaning on the car/door for support, as this could be used as evidence that you are under the influence.
Do Not Answer Any Questions
At this point, it is likely that the officer will start asking you a barrage of questions; however, it is important that you do not answer them. Officers are aware that drivers are often anxious in this situation, and they will use this to their advantage to try to get you to say something that will incriminate you. While you have to comply if they ask for your name, address, license, registration, and proof of insurance, you do not have to answer questions about whether you have been drinking. While continuing to be polite, simply state that you have been advised by your lawyer not to answer these questions, or state that you will not answer their questions without a lawyer present. While this will likely lead to an arrest if they see you as being non-compliant, this is much less damaging than saying something that could lead to extended jail time.
Do Not Submit to a Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) Device, or Field Sobriety, Test
The officer will at this point likely try to get you to submit to a Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) test using a breathalyzer, and they may even try to subject you to field sobriety tests. Again, while you have to get out of the car, you don’t have to comply with these tests. In fact, it is recommended that you refuse to undergo these tests. Breathalyzer tests are notoriously inaccurate, and they could show you having a higher Blood Alcohol Level than you actually do. Similarly, field sobriety tests are not a good indicator of sobriety, as these complex balance tests are often difficult for people to complete when they haven’t been drinking. While refusing these tests will likely result in your license being suspended, this may be less damaging in the long run. Of course, if you are taken to the police station, you may no longer have the option to refuse to undergo testing.
Contact an Attorney as Soon as Possible
Once you are given the opportunity, it is critical that you contact an attorney. An experienced DUI defense attorney will be able to work with you to help you avoid jail time and mitigate any other consequences that can come with being pulled over for a DUI. Contact us if you have recently been pulled over for a DUI, as time is of the essence when fighting these charges.