Whether you drank one drink or ten, you might find yourself pulled over at a DUI stop. Staying calm is difficult to do when you think you might get a DUI. Fortunately, there are a few things that may help you through the situation. These tips can help your case during a DUI stop.
1. Be Smart When You Pull Over
Nothing gives away a drunk driver like erratic driving. When you pull up to the DUI stop and pull over, be safe. First, make sure to use your signal if you switch lanes. And avoid jerking your steering wheel as you pull into the next lane. When police officers look for drunk drivers, they often look for jerky movements. Try to be smooth and calm as you pull over. Be sure that you don’t block traffic or pose a hazard to other vehicles. If there’s nowhere safe to pull over, it’s best to drive slowly until you find a safe place to do so.
2. Be Kind To the Officer
There are a few ways that you can be respectful and kind to your police officer. While it might not always get you out of a DUI, it can help your case. Start by keeping your hands on the steering wheel of your car as the officer approaches. When you keep your hands visible, the officer feels more at ease. Hands that are hidden could be reaching for a weapon. An officer who feels in danger could think of you as a criminal.
After the officer approaches your vehicle, be polite. There’s no reason to act enraged or upset. If you do, he may think that you have something to hide. Instead of acting upset, try to be calm and understanding. Avoid saying too much, and don’t anger the officer.
Although an officer may still give you a DUI if you’re courteous, he may be less likely to go out of his way to convict you. However, a rude exchange with the officer could make him seek revenge. He might go out of his way to write an incriminating report. When you appear in court, that report could be what gets you a harsh sentence.
3. Don’t Incriminate Yourself
When an officer asks you a question at a DUI stop, you don’t have to answer it. This is where a balancing act comes into play. You don’t want to be rude to the officer, but you also don’t want to incriminate yourself. When he asks you questions that could get you in trouble with the law, don’t answer them. You don’t want to lie, but you don’t want to say something incriminating. It’s common for officers to ask how much you’ve had to drink. Admitting to even one or two drinks could get you into trouble. It’s best to refrain from answering the question. For a polite response, you could tell the officer that your lawyer advised you not to answer any questions.
While you don’t want to answer incriminating questions, you do need to tell the officer your name. You also need to provide your license, registration, and insurance information to him. Anything else is up to you.
4. Refuse a Field Sobriety Test and Breathalyzer
When you fail a field sobriety test or have a high BAC on your breathalyzer at a DUI stop, the results can hurt you in court. Many people don’t realize that you don’t need to agree to either of the tests. While declining them can result in the immediate suspension of your license, it may be worth the penalty. The damage of failed results can be worse than the damage of declining the test.
If you are certain that you will fail either test, you should decline. Field sobriety tests allow officers to make observations about your sobriety. In court, they can cite your behaviors and explain how they made you appear under the influence. Declining the test declines the officer the right to tell a jury about how unfit you were to drive. Similarly, the breathalyzer can only hurt you in court. And breathalyzers have a history of being unreliable. Don’t take the risk of an unreliable result being used against you in court.
It’s important to note that these tips only apply during the DUI stop. If an officer takes you into custody, you need to comply with his wishes. A failure to do so could get you into even more trouble.
5. Opt For the Chemical BAC Test
If you do go into police custody, an officer might ask you to choose between two types of BAC tests. First, there’s the blood draw. The blood draw can be a very accurate indicator of your blood alcohol content. For that reason, the chemical test may be a better option. An experienced lawyer may be able to dispute the results of a chemical test in court. However, the blood draw makes that difficult.
6. Hire a Lawyer
As soon as you find yourself facing a DUI, you need to hire a lawyer. Don’t let your DUI stop result in severe penalties. Get the help you need to fight the charges.