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How to Behave During a DUI Stop

If you’re like most drivers, there’s something about being pulled over that gets your nerves rattled. You see the red and blue lights flashing in your rearview mirror and immediately, your heart begins to race, your breathing gets more rapid, and your body is flooded with adrenalin. This is when a lot of people’s hands begin to shake and for some, it’s when they literally begin to cry.

When we’re in panic mode, we don’t exactly think straight. You could have had your insurance in the glovebox for a year, but suddenly you can’t seem to find it. You may be rifling through your purse or your gym bag for your license and even though you knew where it was five minutes before the stop, suddenly your mind draws a blank.

Unfortunately, DUI stops can bring out the worst in some people. Whether this means being rude to the police officer, crying uncontrollably, laughing or giggling, simple forgetfulness, trembling, or arguing with the officer – it happens to the best of us but this isn’t a lesson on psychology. If you’ve never been pulled over on suspicion of DUI before, tell yourself this right now, “If I’m ever pulled over by a Sheriff, CHP, or a local police officer, I will remain calmand I won’t make a fool of myself.”

What to Do During a DUI Stop

It’s entirely possible that you could be pulled over on suspicion of DUI, even if you haven’t been drinking. You could break the law and text while driving, swerve into another lane and bam – the police are hot on your tail for a possible DUI. You could be driving on two hours’ sleep after your newborn kept you up all night and drive erratically. If a cop observes this driving behavior, they can suspect you’re drunk driving and once again, pull you over on suspicion of DUI.

If you did have something to drink or you were on some type of medication, this is how you need to behave when pulled over on a DUI stop:

  • Roll down your window when the officer approaches your vehicle.
  • Keep your hands on the wheel when the officer comes to your window.
  • Crack a little smile and politely say, “Hello” to the officer. This sets the officer at ease.
  • Do not reach for anything under the seat, in the backseat, or in a purse until the officer asks for your information. If you have to reach for your license, registration, or proof of insurance, let the officer know and ask for their permission for you to “reach into your purse” or go into the glovebox etc.
  • Be polite no matter what. Do not be rude or refuse to answer the officer’s questions.
  • If the officer asks you if you’ve been drinking, politely decline to answer: “With all due respect Sir, I choose not to answer that question.”
  • If you’re asked where you were coming from, politely decline to answer the question if you just came from a restaurant-bar, a bar or nightclub.
  • If you’re asked to step outside of your vehicle and perform field sobriety tests, do not take these. There is no penalty for refusing but if you do take them and fail, the evidence will be used to arrest you for DUI and secure a conviction. Still, be polite when yourefuse.

Note: If you refuse a blood, breath or urine test your driver license will be automatically suspended for one yearunder California’s implied consent law. Even if you refuse a test, you can still be prosecuted for DUI and convicted in court. If you are found not-guilty of DUI, your license will remain suspended for one full year due to the refusal.

Related: Challenging Field Sobriety Test Evidence

If you are facing DUI charges in Orange County, contact us today to set up a free consultationwith Attorney Landry who is board-certified in DUI defense.