Being accused of a DUI is a serious offense that can result in heavy fines, the suspension of your license, and even jail time. While choosing alternatives to drinking and driving, such as taking a cab, is the best way to avoid being convicted of a DUI, knowing what to do should you ever be pulled over for a DUI will give you the best chance of challenging the charges leveled against you. Keep reading for a look at what you should and shouldn’t do if you get pulled over for a DUI.
Keep Calm (and Be Polite)
Seeing the flashing lights of a cop car behind you is a nerve-wracking experience that can leave you rattled. However, it is critical that you are as polite and calm as possible in your interactions with the police officer. Pull over calmly to the side of the road, turn off your car, roll down the windows, and place your hands on the steering wheel. Address the officer respectively when spoken to, but keep your dialogue to a minimum. Remember, your interactions with the police officer are likely being recorded, so being polite and saying as little as possible will be in your best interest.
Do Not Answer Any Potentially Incriminating Questions
The police officer will likely start out by asking for your license, registration, and proof of insurance, after which they may start asking you questions. Remember, while it is important that you are polite and do not get combative with the officer, you are under no obligation to answer their questions without a lawyer present. The officer will likely ask you whether you have been drinking, and it is important that you do not answer this question. Even admitting to having had a couple of beers could be used against you later on. However, you also should not lie and say that you haven’t had anything to drink if you’ve been drinking. Your best option will be to ask to speak to your lawyer first. The police will likely arrest you if you are uncooperative with their questioning, however, this is still better than potentially incriminating yourself.
Do Not Submit to Any Testing
Next, the officer may try to get you to submit to field sobriety testing and/or a preliminary alcohol screening test. However, what many people do not realize is that you are under no legal obligation to perform these tests. If asked to step out of your car, comply (but do not use the door or side of the car for balance when exiting) and say that your lawyer has recommended that you do not submit to any testing. Field sobriety tests are fairly subjective and can be used against you in court, but they are not reliable indicators of intoxication. You are better off being taken into custody. However, once you are at the police station, you may be obligated to take a chemical test depending on the laws in your state.
Contact a Lawyer As Soon As Possible
Once you have been released from the police station, it is critical that you contact an experienced DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. As we previously mentioned, the penalties for a DUI can be severe, and time will be of the essence in order to get the charges leveled against you reduced or dropped. An experienced attorney will be able to evaluate your case and build the best defense possible, and they can be critical in helping to guide you through the complex legal process.
If you or someone you love is facing DUI charges, contact us to learn more about the steps you should take moving forward.