Dealing With A DUI Stop

No one sets out to drive drunk.  In fact, according to recent studies, most drivers arrested for DUI have almost no alcohol in their systems at all.  Increasing state legislation has made it virtually impossible to have a drink with friends and drive home without fear of being arrested, of being labeled as a criminal.

Of course, the best way to deal with a DUI stop is avoidance of the situation.  That means not driving drunk.  However, it also means proper care of your automobile to ensure that police officers do not have a reason to pull you over in the first place. All DUI arrests begin with a suspicion, a reason to pull you over.  Whether that is because you have a turn signal bulb that is not functioning or because you were weaving while driving, it all stars with a cause.  Not giving the officer a cause to pull you over is the best protection.  Common causes of initial stops include:

  • Inoperable vehicle lights (headlights, taillights, turn signals, etc)
  • Obscured or unreadable license plate or tag
  • Suspicious behavior (weaving or swerving, etc)
  • Reckless driving (failure to stop at stop signs, etc)

What do you do if you are pulled over for DUI? 

What can you expect to take place?  Will you go directly to jail?  The outcome of the event will be determined by your actions, as well as the determination of the officer to investigate your driving.  Regardless of the reason for the initial stop, whether it was a blown taillight or a malfunctioning turn signal, you now see the blue lights in the rearview mirror.

Pull over as soon as it is safe.  Always pull off on the right side of the road and turn your dome light on.  Place your hands on the steering wheel in plain sight. Officers rightly fear for their safety when approaching an unknown situation; give them no cause for further anxiety or alarm. In addition, have your license and registration in a safe place, but do not reach for them until the officer asks for them.

Greet the officer calmly and courteously, never be belligerent or indignant.  This is an immediate tip that you may be intoxicated.  Remain calm and be pleasant if possible.  However, if the officer asks if you have been drinking, do not admit to having a single drink.  This gives the officer sufficient cause to administer a DUI test, or even arrest you.  The best recourse is simply to ask if the officer would like to see your license and registration.

If the officer asks you to step out of the car, comply, but do not perform any field sobriety tests.  These tests are designed to make you fail.  In addition, you are not required to perform any roadside testing, whatsoever.  By refusing the tests, but remaining calm and courteous, you force the officer to make his arrest decision based on your driving and your demeanor, rather than on the faulty results of inaccurate testing.  In addition, the results of these tests can be used against you in court; by avoiding the tests, you reduce the case against you.

If you've been pulled over and charged with a DUI, you may be facing serious consequences. Consult with a DUI attorney immediately to discuss the best defense strategy.

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