It’s the holiday season, which means many of us are attending events and gatherings that involve alcohol. This can mean that your chance of getting pulled over on suspicion of DUI is higher.
Getting pulled over because you are suspected of driving under the influence is often a terrifying experience. Even if you have only had one or two drinks, or haven’t had any alcohol at all, being pulled over usually causes anxiety and stress.
Pull over safely and put your hands on the wheel
Do not try to outrun the cops. When you see the lights come on, slow down, move your vehicle to the side of the road and turn it off. Put both hands on the steering wheels so the officers can see them.
The officers will likely ask for your identification and vehicle registration. Provide this to them and state your name if they ask.
Say nothing other than your name
Do not say anything else. The most important thing to remember is that you have no legal obligation to answer any questions.
This is harder than you may think. It is natural to start talking to the officers to reduce your anxiety or show them that you were not doing anything wrong.
Resist the urge to speak. Say nothing.
Do not fight the reason for the stop
Police officers must have reasonable suspicion to pull you over. Even if you believe you were doing nothing wrong, and do not believe the reason they provide for pulling you over is true, do not fight it then.
Arguing or being combative with the officers over the reason for the stop only gives them an additional reason to arrest you. It may very well be an illegitimate stop.
However, the time to fight is after the stop or after your arrest, with the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Fighting it at the time could lead to charges such as disorderly conduct or resisting arrest.
Additionally, if you are trying to prove that you are not intoxicated, starting a fight with police officers is not going to help.
Do not submit to field sobriety tests
If you were pulled over on suspicion of DUI, you may be asked to perform field sobriety tests.
These are tests such as walking a straight line or reciting the alphabet backward. You have no legal obligation to perform these tests. Politely decline.
You can decline a chemical test, such as a breathalyzer, but there are often higher penalties for doing so. If you are asked to submit to a chemical test, it might be best to request an attorney at that point.
You are allowed to ask the officers if you are free to leave. If they say yes, leave. They have no reason to hold you there unless they are placing you under arrest.
You cannot afford the cost of a DUI
A DUI conviction has many serious penalties. You face huge fines, loss of your driver’s license and potential jail time.
Therefore, the way you act during a DUI stop can make a huge difference in the outcome of the stop.
The police officers must prove that you were impaired. You do not have to prove you were sober. Remembering these tips can help you if you are pulled over for DUI.