You’re driving home from dinner with friends. When you’re about a mile from home you hear a siren and see lights flashing in your rear-view mirror: you’re being pulled over.
Getting pulled over by the police, under normal circumstances, can be anxiety inducing. Add in the wrinkle that you’ve had a drink with dinner – this situation can cause a full on panic attack. However, this panic is not necessary if you understand what to do and who to contact.
Here are the top pieces of advice to someone pulled over and suspected of a DWI:
Pull Over Promptly and Safely This may seem obvious, but many people panic and pull over erratically. Always remember, stay calm. Any erratic driving can be used against you.
Call a Lawyer After you show the officer the appropriate documentation, ask for the opportunity to call your lawyer. An experienced attorney will be able to guide you through the numerous decisions you have to make.
Be polite and courteous to the Officer No matter how bad your circumstances are, they can always get worse. A sure fire way to make things immediately worse is being disrespectful to the officer. Even if the officer is being rude to you, make sure you always maintain respect.
Don’t Answer Questions By The Officer Until You Talk To Your Attorney This can be awkward, but it is important to not give the officer more information than is necessary. An officer’s job is to collect evidence to you against you. So when he asks questions about where you were or if you were drinking, explain politely but firmly that you would like the opportunity to speak to your attorney before answering any questions.
Consent to Search? Generally, you should not allow the officer to search your vehicle. Although it is strange saying no to an officer, do not consent to a search. Once your attorney is contacted, he/she can arrive on the scene and speak to the officer on your behalf.
Should I Blow? This is the number one question I receive regarding DWIs. Everyone wants a definite answer to whether they should do the breathalyzer or not. Unfortunately, as any experienced attorney will tell you, it all depends. This is why you want to call your attorney as soon as possible. Under certain circumstances, performing the breathalyzer may be advantageous to your case; however, in other instances it can be very bad for your case. Your attorney will be able to decipher this while speaking to you.
What If I Refuse? If you refuse the breathalyzer it can have negative results on your license. This is why it is imperative to make the right decision. Make sure you call your attorney so he/she can help you make the right decision.
Should I Do The FSTs (Field Sobriety Tests)? These are commonly known as the walk-and-turn, finger-to-nose, and alphabet tests. Generally, it does not help your case to perform the tests. However, once you talk to your attorney he/she will have the opportunity to determine if it may be advantageous. Your attorney can then request the tests be done at a more hospitable location, such as the station, and your attorney can be present.
In any case, please consider taking another mode of transportation or calling a ride or ride share if you’ve been drinking. Bouvier Law does not advocate drinking and driving.
ANTHONY R. FARACO JR.