Most people know the dangers of drinking and driving. Unfortunately, people still drive drunk nearly 300,000 times every day. While fewer than 4,000 are ever arrested for this crime, that doesn't mean you should ever take a chance. Still, you may be pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving at some point in your lifetime. If you are, you'll need some sound legal advice. That includes avoiding these important don'ts when you're being questioned by a police officer.
Pulled over for a DUI? Don't:
- Admit or deny intoxication
Basically, you should give as little information as you possibly can. Usually, a police officer will ask whether you've been drinking or how many drinks you've had that evening. Instead of admitting or denying the fact that you've been drinking or downplaying how many beers you've consumed, it's better to say that you don't recall or that you wish not to answer. You should not volunteer any information that can be used against you in any way. That can be tough, especially if an officer tries to use tactics to get the information they need. But if you stick to your own script ("I respectfully have nothing to say, officer"), you'll be able to protect yourself a little better.
- Automatically perform field sobriety or breathalyzer tests
It's a common misconception that you have to perform sobriety assessments. Some states do have harsh penalties for refusing to do so, like automatic suspension of your driver's license. But in some cases, that's preferential to self-incrimination. You don't want to hand over evidence against yourself if you don't have to. Field sobriety tests are designed to be stacked in the officer's favor. If you truly aren't intoxicated, you may want to take these tests. But if you are seriously under the influence, it may be better to refuse. Because it depends on the situation, there's no one solid piece of legal advice on this. But try to use your best judgment and be sure to hire DUI lawyers if you do end up being arrested.
- Be combative
While you should never volunteer any potentially incriminating information, you should still be cooperative and polite with police officers when you can be. Getting angry or arguing with an officer will never reflect well on you. But if you're cooperative and respectful, your police report will probably be more positive and may help your case overall. As a rule, don't behave in any way that could make the situation worse than it already is.
Of course, you should NEVER drink and drive. But if you are pulled over on suspicion of DUI, you'll need to avoid these poor choices and make sure you have sound legal advice to help you through the process.