You may be leaving a party at a friend's house, a dinner with family, or a business meeting when you see a patrol car's lights flashing behind you. You pull over and find yourself confronted by a suspicious officer who’s bent on nabbing drunk drivers.
The officer describes a traffic violation you allegedly committed and asks if you’ve been drinking. At this point, the officer suspects that you were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. What should you do in the face of a potential arrest?
Though the right set of behaviors on your part depend on the circumstances, your "gut" feelings and concerns, the following are basic DUI "don'ts" that can help protect your interests if you are pulled over on suspicion of DUI.
What Not to Do
Don't panic. First and foremost, remain calm. Comply with the officer's demands, supplying your driver's license and registration information. Most of all, be polite!
Being pulled over is nerve-racking but avoid panicking, resisting arrest or speeding away as the cop is standing by the road, as this could not only support DUI charges, it could result in additional criminal charges.
Don't incriminate yourself. When you’re pulled over, the officer may ask if you have been drinking, where you are coming from, where you are going, whether you know if you did anything wrong, etc.
Remember, you do not have to answer this type of informal questioning. Politely refuse to answer questions you believe may result in self-incrimination. If you are arrested and taken into custody, do not submit to formal questioning without your attorney present.
You have the right to an attorney after your arrest – exercise this right and protect your interests.
Don't submit to field sobriety testing. A lot of people are not aware of the fact that field sobriety tests are not mandatory. You have the right to refuse such testing.
A refusal may result in your arrest anyway; if the officer believes there is probable cause to support that you were drinking and driving, the results of the field sobriety tests will be saved and later used for one reason: to secure a DUI conviction. So, why give them more ammunition?
Don't consent to a search of your vehicle. If the officer asks to search your vehicle, remember that you do not have to consent to a search. Politely refuse. Law enforcement may only search your vehicle with your consent or by establishing probable cause, for example, they can plainly see an open bottle of alcohol resting on the center console.
Don't wait to talk to an attorney. If you are arrested for DUI, contact a DUI attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer will immediately go to work ensuring that you have a DMV hearing, and they’ll do whatever’s necessary to minimize the consequences of your DUI arrest.
Speak With One of Orange County’s Top DUI Firms
Your DUI arrest is over, but it’s going to take months before the case is fully resolved. In the meantime, get the peace of mind you need to focus on other areas of your life, knowing that you are doing all that you can to address and resolve your DUI.
Call the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, one of Orange County’s top DUI defense firms!