Be on Your Best Behavior When Pulled Over by Police
DUI (driving under the influence) is against the law and often has tragic consequences. Nobody should drive impaired, not for any reason. There are many reasons why people drive intoxicated, none of them good, but when you are arrested for DUI you can lose your license and even your livelihood. It’s important to know what to do in case you are pulled over for suspicion of DUI.
First, when you see those red and blue lights in your mirror, use your turn signal to indicate your intention to pull over. Using your signal will let the officer know that you are alert and cooperative. It may even put doubt in his or her mind that you might be impaired. They will be looking for behavior which indicates impairment such as an untucked shirt or bare feet will heighten their suspicions.
When you come to a stop, have your license and registration ready, your window rolled down and your hands visible. Most officers appreciate your having your hands atop the wheel holding your license and registration. This establishes that you are cooperative and considerate of their safety. Don’t douse your mouth with breath spray or mints; they don’t fool anyone and can contribute to establishing your “consciousness of guilt”.
Did you know that you can refuse a field sobriety test? You can legally refuse to submit to any field test such as a coordination evaluation or a breathalyzer. If you do not submit to the field sobriety test you’re denying the prosecution some proof that you’re guilty of DUI. You are also not obligated to answer any questions and indeed, you can incriminate yourself if you admit you have had a couple of drinks. Admission of drinking gives the officer probably cause to arrest you. Some states allow the officer to arrest you even if you are below the legal limit.
If you do choose to take the field sobriety test, be sure you inform the officer of any physical condition that could affect your balance. An inner ear infection or condition or tinnitus could affect the way you walk. An old injury might choose that moment to throw you off balance, or arthritis in your feet or knees could make you stumble. If you have a condition that causes tremors or shaking tell the officer about that, too.
Your rights vary from state to state but most don’t let you have your attorney present when you’re tested. As stated before, these tests are voluntary but the officer won’t tell you that. If they ask you to take the field sobriety test, they are likely planning to arrest you anyway. Be on your best behavior and treat them respectfully.
As soon as you can, retain an attorney that specializes in DUI cases so that your rights are protected and you aren’t unjustly accused. If you are guilty, an attorney will do his or her best to see that you are treated fairly and get the lightest penalty possible.