Suppose you're out at for a small get together with friends. You have a few drinks, but not too many. You know your limits, and what it takes to get you impaired. You feel fine enough, so you have a few glasses of water and decide to chance it on the road. Midway through your drive, you suddenly see the those piercing blue and red lights reflecting in your mirror. Your heartbeat races as the officer approaches your car. If you are pulled over for a DUI, you may be nervous and unsure of what will happen.
Do's And Don't's Of DUI Stops
Dealing with law enforcement can be unpleasant and frightening. Keep these tips in mind if you are stopped for a DUI.
- Always be respectful. Police officers are prone to "punishing" suspects that they feel are disrespecting them. Do not be confrontational with the officer. Remain calm and treat the officer with respect during your stop.
- Provide the officer with your documents. Treat the stop as if it is a regular traffic stop. Provide with the officer with the necessary documents.
- Take the breathalyzer test. If the officer asks you to take the breathalyzer test, do it. Washington is an "implied consent" state, which means you must take the test or you will suffer the consequences. The effects of not doing so are much worse than what you will face for a first time DUI. Test refusal can come up in court against you, and can also lead to a licenses suspension for a full year, even without a conviction.
- Don't assume you are being pulled over for a DUI. Even if you have had a few drinks, it is possible you may not be impaired. In fact, the officer may be pulling you over for something entirely unrelated to a DUI. Keep this in mind when answering questions.
- Don't answer questions you don't think you have to. Cops like to ask loaded questions to get you to say things that are self-incriminating. You don't need to answer every question.
- Don't lie or mislead the officer. You can decline questions, but you should not deliberately lie or mislead the officer. This will get you in much more trouble.
- Field Sobriety Tests are voluntary. You don't need to participate if you don't want to. Cops will not inform you of this. If you wish to decline, it is best to cite the subjective nature of the test as a reason for your lack of participation.
- You have the right to remain silent; anything you say can, and will be used against you. Always keep your Miranda rights in mind if you are arrested for a DUI. Politely inform the officer that you are invoking your rights and you wish to contact an attorney.
- Contact a DUI attorney. If you receive DUI charges, get in touch with an attorney right away. You will want a lawyer on your side who will fight the charges.