Many people have been there: you have a drink or two, think you are okay to drive home, and all of a sudden as you are driving you are pulled over by the police for driving while under the influence. Although you may feel like you were perfectly fine to drive, your blood alcohol content (BAC) and the law may say differently. I want to give you some tips to follow to make the situation as smooth as possible.
1. Be Respectful
Although you may feel wronged and feel the police don’t have reason to stop you, being respectful from the start can make the situation much better. Being respectful includes not waiting a long time to stop once you see the flashing lights, not yelling or arguing with the officers, and doing what you are asked, as long as it’s within your rights.
2. Always be Organized
Whether it’s for being pulled over, or for an emergency, it is always good to have your insurance and registration papers, as well as your license, easily available. If you have to fumble around for your documents the officer could get the wrong impression and think you are under the influence.
3. Don’t Answer Any Incriminating Questions
Although you may feel anxious because you were pulled over by the police, it does not mean you have to answer all their questions. Do provide them with the necessary documents and answer questions about your name, age, etc. However, if you are asked about drinking and/or drug use, don’t incriminate yourself! You can say, “I’m sorry but I have been advised not answer any questions.”
4. Analyze the Situation to See if You Should Refuse a Field Sobriety Test and/or a Breathalyzer Test
When pulled over for allegedly driving under the influence you have no legal obligation to perform a field sobriety test or take a roadside breathalyzer. Both of these tests are unreliable, each for different reasons. Field sobriety tests are completely subjective because the officer entirely decides whether or not you pass. Similarly, roadside breathalyzers are known to be unreliable and easily manipulated. However, there are several factors you should take into account before making a decision when pulled over for driving while intoxicated.
Each situation depends on the facts of the case (ie how much they had to drink, is this a first time offender, are there plea bargaining guidelines in the county of arrest, etc) before you can be advised whether or not to blow into the machine. You have the right to refuse to perform the tests, however that does not mean that they have to submit to a chemical test of their breath. If the officer believes you are intoxicated based upon his/her observations he/she can arrest you with or without you performing the field sobriety tests.
Although I agree that the person should refuse the roadside tests, chances are you will be arrested regardless and brought back to the station house (assuming observations of intoxication). Once brought to the station house the driver will be given the opportunity to blow into the intoxilyzer. The person does not have to blow into the machine. It is not the law that they do so. However, if you do refuse, you will be subjected to a one year license revocation of your driver’s license with no possibility of a restricted license. On the other hand, if you do blow into the machine it is additional evidence of intoxication, if you are in fact over the legal limit. So before making any decisions about tests, think about what you have done and then make your decision accordingly.
5. Contact an Attorney
After such events, you will need an experienced DWI defense attorney who will carefully examine everything that happened and will fight for your rights. Contact an attorney as soon as possible and be completely honest with the attorney so that you can get this dealt with properly and with the best results for YOU!