Picture this scenario. You’re driving home from a restaurant after a long day at work. Suddenly, you see the flashing red and blue lights of a patrol car in your rear-view mirror. After being pulled over, the patrolling officer asks you whether you’ve been drinking.
Every year, over a million Americans are charged with driving under the influence. If you find yourself being pulled over for an alleged DUI, however, your conviction isn’t a done deal. Take these simple but important precautions during the stop and arrest procedure to ensure that your chances of conviction remain as low as possible.
When you spot the patrol car’s flashing lights and hear its siren, your initial instinct may be to panic. Fight against this instinct. Slow down but continue driving, letting the patrol car follow closely behind you, until you reach a safe, and low-traffic stretch of road to pull off of. Avoid pulling over in shoulders and other potentially dangerous areas. If the officer pulling you over is giving you directions over a loudspeaker, roll your windows down so you can hear and follow his instructions.
Try to maintain a relaxed state of mind during the initial stopping procedure. Keep your windows rolled down and your hands on your steering wheel until ordered otherwise by the police officer.
Answering the Officer’s Questions Without Incriminating Yourself
Most alleged DUI drivers believe their trial only begins when they set foot in the courtroom. These drivers typically say and do all sorts of self-incriminating things while pulled over.
Don’t be one of these drivers. Remember that the police can and will use anything you say and do against you in court. You’re required to answer questions about your license, insurance and registration. However, you are not required to answer questions about your travel route. If you tell the officer that you’ve come from a restaurant or a bar, you’ve just given him a piece of evidence to use against you.
Most importantly, don’t make any sort of admission that you’ve been drinking. You have the constitutional right to avoid self-incrimination. Exercise that right.
Getting Out Your Documents
Don’t dig out your license, insurance and registration until asked for them. Pull each document out one at a time, and verbally inform the officer before removing paperwork from your glove box. If you make any sudden or unexplained movements, the officer may assume you’re reaching for a weapon or trying to hide something illegal.
Dealing With Sobriety Tests
If your officer asks you to take a field sobriety test, many lawyers advise that you should respectfully refuse. These sorts of tests are highly subjective, and the officer will almost certainly use the results of your test to claim that you were obviously drunk.
If asked to take a chemical test, however, you should agree. Breath and blood alcohol tests are basically unavoidable, as the consequences of refusing these tests are too serious to risk. If you have a choice, pick the blood test. Blood tests take more time to perform, and their results can be more easily disputed by an attorney.
Hiring a DUI attorney
At this point, you may be arrested for driving under the influence and held in custody for a few hours. After you’re released, get your car out of impound as soon as possible, return home and get some sleep.
Once you’ve gotten enough rest, start looking for DUI attorneys. You’ll need the services of an experienced and knowledgeable DUI attorney to help you through the legal process and, hopefully, to beat your DUI charge.
After being pulled over for a DUI, you may feel that your situation is hopeless, but it’s not. Simply remain calm, deal with the officer in a polite manner, admit to nothing and find an experienced DUI attorney to walk you through the rest of the process, and you may be able to beat your DUI charge and restore your reputation.
Author Bio: Henry Nguyen knows how scary it is to be arrested for a crime. His firm, The Law Office of Henry K. Nguyen, provides the best defense possible for individuals charged with a crime in Houston, TX.