Skip to comments.What To Do If You're Pulled Over And Arrested For DUI
Posted on 06/20/2013 3:18:55 PM PDT by kreitzer
What To Do If Youre Pulled Over And Arrested For DUI
Heres the straight story on what to do if youre pulled over and arrested for drunk driving.
1. Find a safe place to pull over.
Remember that, as soon as the police officer decides to pull you over for drunk driving (DUI/DWI), he starts making observations that he will put in the police report. This document can have a significant impact on the outcome of both your criminal trial and your DMV hearing. One of the first things the officer does is make a mental note of how you pull over. If you drive erratically, slow down too abruptly, or pull over in an unsafe location, the officer notes it in the report.
2. Dont make any sudden movements.
Officers are trained to be cautious, and to protect themselves, first and foremost. They always approach the car from behind so they have a clear view, and so the driver would have to turn completely around in order to shoot or attack them. So, dont make any sudden movements and keep your hands on the wheel at 10 and 2 oclock.
3. Be polite.
The obvious reason to treat the officer respectfully is that you are far less likely to be arrested. If youre rude or hostile, the officer is more likely do everything possible to get you convicted, including writing a very incriminating police report. If the officer asks you to step out of the vehicle, you must comply, otherwise you could be charged with resisting arrest.
4. Dont answer any potentially incriminating questions, and dont lie.
The anxiety of getting pulled over is something police officers count on. In this kind of situation, people are far more likely to incriminate themselves. You do have to give your name, license and registration to the police officer. But if the officer asks you if youve been drinking, or how muchand you're concerned that you might incriminate yourselfsimply say, Im sorry, officer, but Ive been advised not to answer any questions.
If you have had only one or two drinks, say so. With very few exceptions, one or two drinks will not put you over the legal limit.
Lying, however, is never a good idea. If you answer a question, answer it truthfully. If you lie, and the officer knows it, the fact that you lied can be used against you in court.
5. Refuse a field sobriety test.
You are under no legal obligation to perform a field sobriety test. Field sobriety tests are one of the most effective tools at the officers disposal for collective evidence against you. Thats not because they are reliable indicators of intoxication. To the contrary, the value of FSTs is that they are entirely subjective. Its completely up to the officer whether you pass. (For more information on the history and science behind FSTs, read the article Are Field Sobriety Tests Accurate?)
6. Refuse a hand-held breathalyzer.
Roadside breathalyzers (otherwise known as Preliminary Alcohol Screening tests or PASs) are notoriously unreliable, and there are countless ways to skew their results. (For more information about hand-held breathalyzers, read the article How Police Officers Influence Breathalyzer Results).
7. Take a chemical test at the police station.
You are obligated by law to take a chemical test at the police station. In most states, you can choose between a blood test or breath test. Many DUI lawyers advise people to take the breath tests because they're more unreliable, so their validity can be more effectively attacked in court. (For more information on the myriad problems with the breath tests, read the article The Unreliability of the Breath Test.)
8. Once youve been released, write down everything that you can remember about the night.
The more notes you take about your arrest, the easier it will be for your attorney to fight the charges against you. Include in your notes things like the following.
what you were doing and where you were doing before you drove
how much you had to drink
how long after you were arrested
how the officer behaved, any instructions he gave you
what you said to the officer
where you were pulled over
when and if you were read your Miranda rights
when you took the chemical test and how long it had been since your drank
Write down everything that you can think of, even if it doesnt strike you as relevant.
9. Contact an attorney.
You both need and deserve an experienced DUI defense attorney who will fight for your rights. The single most important thing you can do for yourself is to find a qualified attorney who knows DUI law. (For more information on how to choose the best lawyer, read the article How to pick a DUI attorneyknow what questions to ask.)
I would also add, stay in the car till the officer
tells you to come out. I watched a friend get cited
for public drunk because he got out.
Could be a difference in venue.
I was cited for DUI by the city.
He was cited by the county.
we went to differnt lockups.
I was released that night,
but it was the weekend and he
couldn’t be released till monday.
He was an alcoholic and asked the
trustee there to get him some booze.
The trustee told him he could get him
pot or cocaine but no booze on weekends.
Eventually it was all thrown out at court.
I took the breath test at the station...
and passed it, but they searched the car
and found some pot in the back seat.
Luckily the car wasn’t mine and since I
passed the breath test they had no cause
to search the car.
Oh, and do NOT go to court without an attorney.
The cops started testimony with both sitting
in court. My lawyer made them stop and one leave
the room so as not to hear the others testimony.
A small thing but it might have made a difference.
Hubby hit a cow and wrecked our truck recently, officers on the scene wanted him to take a field sobriety test but he explained to them that he had a stroke a few years ago and his slight impairment would likely cause him to fail the test. He offered to do a breath test and he did, had not been drinking. He said the officers were very professional and did not question his not wanting to do the field sobriety, guess they had common sense.
Not in CA. Field test (FST) can be refused. If you refuse the blood test, then you lose your license for a year.
By all means, if you're an alcoholic.
That sounds like a money grab, remind me not to drive around in your area. I get pulled over all the time here and I don’t drink and drive, that’s never the problem.
No matter how many times you fall down or urinate on yourself, be adamant in insisting that you only had “two beers”.
There is virtually no legal advice that is equally valid in all 50 states.
I agree with all of this except the part about getting out of the car at the request of the officer. Before doing so, you should ask him if you are under arrest. If he says no, you are not obligated to exit the car. If he says yes, he’d better have a damn good reason for giving that answer.
What makes you think you had to have had anything to drink in order to make an arrest?
If he asks, you are nuts to say ANYTHING other than “I’ve been advised by counsel not to answer any questions at this time; to refuse a PAS; to refuse a FST.
That means a trip to a police station, where you have to submit to a chemical test, which will show you were stone sober beyond the shadow of a doubt and with witnesses other than the officer that made the stop.
It’s worth it. The don’t need a reason to pull you over. Some cops will try and get you to consent to a search of your car on the spot with the term ‘exigent circumstances’ - “We are going to do it anyway, the question is only a matter of when!!”
To search your car, they still have to have probably cause. If they really want to search it, they HAVE to bring you to the station, and then get a judge to sign a search warrant before they can do it.
All exigent circumstances buys a cop is the means to secure potential evidence before you have the ability to destroy or dispose of it.
It is now ROUTINE for police to set up road blocks to ask for your papers, which is ILLEGAL as hell. They are doing it anyway. It doesn’t meet the ‘reasonable suspicion’ test. Being out after 10PM is not enough justification to stop you for any reason whatsoever.
They are doing it anyway.
Don’t say, “Here, hold my beer”.
Skip all of this crap and if you’re drinking, stay the hell off of my roads.
Fine. You don't need a "license" to peaceably travel from place to place using contemporary conveyances.
Wars were fought over this.
I’ll bet you get very tired of people calling you stupid.
And one joint.
You will lose your license if you refuse the breathalyzer at the station but not if you refuse the field sobriety tests. Best advice other than not drinking at all is to follow the speed limit and not to drive with your brights on at night.
"Your" roads? Who the hell do you think you are? Did you build and maintain them?
I wouldn’t advise refusing the field sobriety test, unless you knew with certainty what the laws in your state were.
I’ve been pulled over for DUI. I had half a beer at a bar...and the police were staking out the parking lot. I actually saw them, and knew what they were up to...and still proceeded to get in my car and start it - thinking I had nothing to worry about. Their pretense for pulling me over was a license plate light that was burnt out.
The half beer was on my breath, so the officer stated that he suspected I was impaired. So the told me to say (not sing) the alphabet, and stop at ‘P’. I did this, fairly flawlessly in my opinion.
But it apparently wasn’t good enough. So I had to do this thing where I touched my fingers to my thumb, in succession, and counted ‘1-2-3-4-4-3-2-1’. IMHO, I did this task better than the cop who demonstrated it. I should mention that the cop was a ‘trainee’, and another cop was giving him instructions on what to do. He was more nervous than me...amd I really do believe I did this task better than him.
They say I’m good to go, and write me up a warning for the light....but then they do a little conference and ask me to get out of the car. Its breathalyzer time.
The instructor cop helps the trainee load it with a straw like device; and, they have me blow. They didn’t like the result, so they had me blow again. They actually looked quite puzzled....I wish I had asked what I was blowing...they didn’t tell me - but they sent me on my way.
I violated just about all of the instructions on this list...but I think that is how I would handle it, if it ever happened again.
You need a license to use the public roads. And you have an immediate problem if they take your license in that you now need to get your vehicle AND you home without you behind the wheel, because there’s cops right there that know you don’t have a license (because they took it). Yeah later you can get around with a suspended license, just don’t get pulled over. I knew a guy who spent 5 or 6 years without a license, because he wasn’t smart enough to not do other illegal things while driving on that lack of license, so he’d get tickets for both his moving violation AND driving on a suspended license, which restarted his suspension clock. Turned into a very expensive hobby for him.
aaaaaaand you’re really going to remember these ten things when you’re pulled over for DWI. “Oh, sh*t...uh...what was the first one?”
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.