You were probably driving along minding your own business until you got pulled over by law enforcement on suspicion of DUI. Anyone can be pulled over—even drivers who have not been drinking and driving. Nonetheless, how you respond and act in this circumstance can make things much more challenging for you or, in some instances, much more manageable. To make sure you have a better chance of weathering the oncoming storm, there are some things you should refrain from doing when pulled over, listed below.
- Don’t be mouthy or rude to the police officers.
No matter how annoyed or angry you are at having been pulled over or you much you mistrust law enforcement in general, nothing good can come from being rude to the police. YYour behavior could potentially give the cops probable cause to arrest you. Or, you could, at worst, provoke the officer, so he or she will make things more difficult for you. Be mindful always of treating law enforcement personnel respectfully and politely.
- Don’t fumble around for your driver’s license and paperwork.
You should never drive without your license, automobile registration, and proof of insurance. If you are stopped and don’t have your license and the proper paperwork, you could be charged, even if you are sober.
Furthermore, get your documentation together as soon as you are pulled over, and have it ready to hand to the officer when he or she comes to your window. If you’re frantically fumbling around for the documents, it could arouse the suspicion that your faculties are impaired in some way.
- Don’t openly admit to drinking.
The law enforcement officer will likely ask you if you have been drinking. Don’t mistakenly assume the officer will be lenient if you are honest about the glass of wine you had an hour ago. Police officers are rarely interested in a time frame or context—it’s their job to decide whether a reason exists to arrest you. Even admitting to drinking a little can give the officer probable cause.
However, you do have the right to decline to answer the officer’s questions. Politely tell the police officer you have been advised not to answer. Then, remain silent. You could get arrested anyway, but at least you’ve supplied less toward probable cause.
- Don’t agree to tests before you’re arrested.
The law enforcement officer will probably ask you to take a field sobriety test or submit to a breathalyzer test. No matter what the officer says, unless you are on probation for a prior DUI or are under the age of 21, the tests are not mandatory—IF you have not been arrested yet.
- Don’t refuse to agree to alcohol testing after you’re arrested.
Once you are arrested, you are required by law to submit to blood, breath, urine tests for the presence of alcohol. Refusing to submit to these tests once you’ve been arrested could mean suspension of your driving privileges, steep fines, and other charges.
- Once arrested, don’t answer questions without an attorney present.
Police officers are trained in persuasion tactics. They will work to get you to volunteer information that incriminates you. A DUI lawyer can help to manage these tactics and protest your rights and best interests.