Being pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence can be an anxiety-inducing experience. Remaining calm and following the steps outlined in this article can help.
Thinking Ahead & Acting Accordingly
When someone is pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence, their behavior during the traffic spot can influence the outcome of the investigation. Following these steps can help you avoid making the situation worse:
- Pull over safely: As soon as an officer turns on their lights to pull someone over on suspicion of DUI, they will be paying attention to every move the driver makes. If someone pulls over erratically, long after the officer turns on their lights, or in an unsafe manner, the officer’s suspicion may increase. Drivers should use their turn signal and pull over cautiously.
- Stay in the vehicle: Once they’ve pulled over, drivers should remain in their vehicle unless instructed otherwise. Their hands should be placed on the steering wheel where they are visible to the officer.
- Don’t make sudden movements: Officers are on high alert when they pull someone over. Sudden movements from the driver could give the officer reason to believe the situation is dangerous.
- Be polite to the officer: Traffic stops tend to be easier when the person being pulled over is polite to the officer and treats them with respect. Being rude or noncompliant is not in the driver’s best interest.
- Do not admit to drinking: It is a driver’s constitutional right to remain silent. As such, it is acceptable for a driver to tell a police officer that they only feel comfortable speaking in the presence of an attorney. Approaching the situation in this manner will prevent drivers from making incriminating statements.
- Do not consent to field sobriety tests: The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration recognizes three types of field sobriety tests; the walk-and-turn test, one-leg stand test, and horizontal gaze nystagmus test. These tests are notoriously easy to fail, and even some sober people are incapable of passing them. Failing these tests is likely to reinforce an officer’s belief that a driver is intoxicated, so you may want to exercise your right to refuse the test.
- Do not consent to a PAS: A PAS, also known as a preliminary alcohol screening device, is used to test a driver’s breath to determine a preliminary blood alcohol concentration. A PAS test administered by an officer on the scene is intended to help the officer determine whether there is cause for arrest, but it is not as effective or accurate as the tests that will be run at the station. You are not required to consent to a PAS test.
- Take the tests at the station: If someone refuses to take the blood alcohol concentration tests once they arrive at the police station or hospital, their driver’s license will be automatically suspended for a full year. It’s also worth noting that an officer can get a search warrant for the testing, so it’s unlikely that refusal will prevent the tests from happening.
- Contact an attorney: Anyone who has been pulled over and arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence should contact an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible. Attorneys can help by collecting evidence, searching for police errors, and more. They can be invaluable when it comes to preventing the long-term consequences of a DUI arrest.
Fighting On Your Behalf
If you’ve been arrested for a DUI and need legal counsel, contact the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Stover today. Our legal team has an in-depth understanding of toxicology and the procedures used in DUI cases. Call us or contact us online for your free consultation.