What Should You Do if You are Stopped for DUI?
You are driving at night when you tense up seeing police lights in your rear view window. You know you’ve had a drink, maybe two. And if you’re pulled over by an officer, most stops follow a familiar routine. You know that you will be asked certain specific questions and even ask to participate in tests. However, you may not know what the correct answers are to those questions or requests. So what should you do if you are stopped for DUI?
1. Stay Calm.
Since being stopped by the police is stressful enough for most people without the fear of being arrested for DUI thrown in, it’s very important that you act as normal and calm as possible. Being agitated, excited, or irritated or insulting, can increase the tension from the officer, which is never a good idea, as it may result in a decision to arrest you, or in extreme cases, raise the encounter to a violent one.
By keeping yourself calm, professional, and polite, you are actually keeping the officer calm, polite, and professional towards you.
2. Say as Little as Possible.
What should you do if you are stopped for DUI and the police start asking questions? The police are watching you, with an intent to look for and gather evidence of any crime occurring. They are more experienced in this exchange than you, based upon the number of encounters they have. There is no reason to assist in that process. If the police ask if you know why they stopped you, say no.
If the police ask if you have been drinking, the best answer is, “I’m not going to answer that”. While you may think that implies facts against you, you are truly in a catch-22 here. If you answer “yes”, they will use that admission and confession against you, as probable cause to investigate further and conduct a battery of tests to conclude that you were impaired.
If, on the other side, you lie and answer “no”, that can be commented on at trial as proof that you knew you were guilty and were attempting to cover it up. It’s best not to answer, and you can even say now to the officer that an Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney told you to not answer that question, under advice from a lawyer.
If you are asked for license, registration, and insurance, you must provide those under California law. If you are asked to step out of the car, you should politely follow that instruction.
If you are asked consent to search the vehicle, you should say no, even if you have nothing to hide.
3. Field Sobriety Tests are Optional.
However, field sobriety tests are optional. That includes field breathalyzers, roadside sobriety testing, and answering questions about drinking. Under the conditions of your license, you must submit to an evidentiary test, of blood or breath, which are usually given at the station, or if there is an accident or medical issue, at a hospital. You should refuse those.
4. What Should You Do if You are Stopped for DUI?
The best practice is not to admit to anything, be polite, and professional, calm, and politely refuse all tests and all answers regarding drinking. If you find the need of an Orange County DUI Attorney, contact our firm at (877) 568-2977, as we are happy to help.