It can be very stressful to be pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. However, it is important to remember that you still have legal rights during a DUI stop, and much of what the officer will ask is completely voluntary on your part. The following are some things to keep in mind during a DUI stop.
What Should I Do If Pulled over for a DUI?
1) Do Not Volunteer Information – The police officer will probably ask whether or not someone has been drinking, or what they have been doing for the last few hours. While drivers are required to produce a drivers licenses and registration, they do not have to volunteer any other information. While it is always wise to be as polite as possible, it is important to not divulge any information that makes an arrest more likely or that may be damaging later on.
2) Field Sobriety Tests Are Not Required – The officer may also ask you to perform a series of field sobriety tests. Some common tests include:
- Balancing on one leg
- Walking in a straight line
- Reciting the alphabet backwards
- Following a light with eyes from side-to-side
Although the officer is not likely to mention it, these tests are also entirely voluntary. If you have in fact been drinking, these tests will only increase your likelihood of being arrested. Also, now that most police cars have dashboard cameras, your performance may be filmed and may be used against you at your trial.
3) If You Are Arrested, Ask For A Lawyer – If the officer has probable cause that you have in fact been driving under the influence, you will be arrested and transported to the police station or a hospital for a blood, breath, or urine test. It is important to ask for a lawyer at this point. In some states you can see a lawyer immediately, while other states make you wait until after you have taken (or refused to take) the chemical test. In either case, you want to consult with your attorney as soon as possible to help protect your rights and begin to prepare your defense.
Should I Seek Legal Help?
DUI stops are extremely fact specific and involve rather complicated legal concepts. If you have been pulled over for a DUI, but not arrested, consulting a DUI/DWI lawyer may help you ensure your rights will not be compromised in the future. If you have been arrested for a DUI, working with a lawyer is the best way to ensure your freedom.