For most people, being pulled over for speeding, running a red light, or (gasp) a DUI can be extremely nerve-wracking, but it happens to the best of us, doesn’t it? So, what should you do if you’re pulled over after having a few glasses of wine at dinner, or a couple of beers while watching the game at a local sports bar? Here’s our advice:
1. Remain calm: Traffic stops, even routine ones can be very dangerous for cops. As they approach vehicles, they have to be prepared for the worst. In order to set the cop at ease, it’s critically important that you stay calm. If you are rude or angry, it will not set the right tone and things can go downhill fast.
2. Roll down your window: Regardless if it’s 110 degrees outside or 30 degrees, roll down your window to speak to the officer approaching your vehicle. As an aside, the faster you roll down your window, the quicker any alcohol fumes will escape.
3. Gather your license, registration and proof of insurance: The last thing you want is the officer to see you nervously fumbling for these items. The longer it takes for you to locate them, the more time the officer has to observe your speech and behavior.
4. Refrain from saying too much: Ever heard the saying, “Silence is golden”? Well, this definitely applies during a DUI stop. We’re not advising to say nothing, but we are suggesting that you say as little as possible. All too often, drivers get very nervous during a DUI stop and in effect, they say way too much.
When the cops ask you where you came from, if you had anything to drink, or how much you had to drink, do not answer these questions because they’ll only be used against you. Instead, politely say something to the effect of, “I have no comment or I have nothing to say.” If you say you just came from a bar or nightclub or that you had dinner with friends, it’s going to open up a whole other can of worms. It won’t help your case.
5. Politely refuse the field sobriety tests: When the officer asks you to perform the field sobriety tests, politely refuse. There is no penalty for refusing and you are NOT legally required to take these tests. If you do, the tests can be captured on the officer’s dash cam or body cam and whatever evidence is obtained, will surely be used against you.
6. Understand the preliminary alcohol screening test (PAS): You are not legally required to take the PAS test, also known as the portable breathalyzer test before the arrest. However, if you are arrested for DUI and you refuse a chemical test, your driver license will be automatically suspended for one-year, even if you weren’t drinking! If you are arrested for DUI, you can request to be tested down at the station. There, you will be given a choice between a blood and breath test. Just so you know: blood tests are more accurate and breathalyzer tests are more open to challenge.
Of course, the best advice we can give is don’t drink and drive. One of the key ways to do this is to get in the habit of calling Uber or Lyft whenever you drink alcohol. But, if you were arrested for DUI in OC, contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. for the strong legal defense you need and deserve!