It happens to good people more often than you’d guess. You have one too many drinks but feel in complete control of your sensibilities and drive yourself home. Maybe you’re driving exactly how you always drive; maybe you make a simple mistake like making a slightly broad turn. All the sudden, you see red and blue lights flashing in the background.
If you get pulled of for suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI), the first steps you take will have a huge impact on the outcome of your potential DUI charges. This is why we’ve put together a list of quick tips that your DUI lawyer wishes you knew before you’re ever pulled over for a DUI.
Three Things Your DUI Attorney Wishes You Knew
- The best way to always avoid DUI charges is to never drink and drive.
Perhaps this is an obvious tip. We’re adding it because we want to make it clear that we do not condone driving under the influence. This is not a “How to get away with driving while intoxicated” article. Driving under the influence kills people. If you are looking at your keys and wondering if you’re fit to drive, always take the high road and hand them over to someone else. Take a taxi. Take an Uber. Walk around the block to burn off the alcohol.
The intention of this article is help you make the best of a bad situation, if you find yourself in it. If this is you, keep reading.
- Exercise your right to remain silent.
In most cases, when you are being pulled over, you know what you did to get the police officer’s attention. You were going five over the speed limit. You rolled through a stop sign. You made a turn without turning your blinker on. However, when the cop inevitably says, “Do you know why I pulled you over?” always — and we mean always — say, “No sir.” and nothing else. If you volunteer any other information, you’re confessing guilt, and helping your cop build a case against you.
You are only obligated to offer three pieces of information: Your license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance. No matter how convincing the cop is, you don’t have to tell them anything else. You don’t have to tell them where you’re coming from, or where you’re going. You do not have to answer if you’ve had anything to drink (and please. Help us help you. Do not EVER tell a cop that you’ve had one or two drink earlier that day. It will not help your cause.)
We know that this is difficult to pull off when there is a police officer in your face. Remain respectful at all times, but do not make the officer’s job making a case that you’re driving drunk any easier. Your criminal defense attorney has a lot more work to do to get you out of the mess you’re in, the more you talk.
- Do not perform any field sobriety tests. Ever.
Here is a little secret that you might not know: If a cop is asking you to walk a straight line, to stand on one foot, or to say your alphabet backwards, they’ve already decided you’re going to be arrested. They are just building a case against you.
You have no obligation to perform these tests and since they’re subjective, there’s no such thing as a passing score. You could perfectly follow the orders of the cop, and the cop can still check off the “Drunk as a skunk” box on their paperwork.
In fact, you do not even have to submit to a field breathalyzer test. They are notoriously inaccurate. The cop might seem chummy with you and say things like, “This can’t be used against you in court.” or “If you take this real fast, we can get you back on the road really fast.” However, while the field test can’t be the only reason you’re convicted of a DUI, the cop can use it alone for establishing probably cause to arrest you. Your criminal lawyer will not be able to fight that the cop had no grounds to bring you in in the first place.
Do you have questions or comments? Please share them in the comment section below!