What to do if you are pulled over for DUI

22nd Oct 2019

Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a criminal offence. You can be fined, lose your license, and even go to jail.

If you are going to drink any alcohol the best advice is to plan not to drive at all.

But if you are pulled over for DUI, here are some tips to assist with our defense of your case.

  1. Find a safe place to pull over.

The officer pulls you over, usually after observing your driving. These observations will go into the police report and will influence the outcome of both your criminal trial and the possible suspension of your license. The safe place you find to pull over and how you pull over will become part of the case.  Find a safe place and slow down safely.

  1. Be cool.

The police conduct traffic stops all the time and are cautious every time. They want to protect themselves from aggression and manage the situation as best they can. Do not make any sudden movements. Keep your hands on the wheel and wait for the officer.

  1. Be polite.

Be helpful and friendly and comply with the officer's requests.  If you are angry and aggressive the police are more likely to arrest you and include this information in their report for the court.

  1. Do not answer any potentially incriminating questions, but do not lie.

The police are in a position of authority and will use your emotions, your anxiety against you. You DO have to give your name, license, registration, and insurance information to the police officer, but if the officer asks you if you have been drinking, or how much—and you are concerned that you might incriminate yourself—simply say, “I’m sorry, officer, but I’ve been advised not to answer any questions.” You will almost definitely be put under a lot of pressure at that point, you may be arrested, and you may automatically lose your license, but all of those things can be much less serious than spending time in jail because you incriminated yourself.

If you have had only one or two drinks, you should use your discretion about saying so. With few exceptions, one or two drinks will not put you over the legal limit, but that varies from person to person and drink to drink, so when in doubt, say nothing.

Lying, 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 will be used against you in court.

  1. Can I refuse the breath test?

Refusing to take a breath test is not an effective way to avoid high-level drink-driving charges. In fact, refusing a test will earn you a fine and you’ll automatically be charged in a high-range penalty bracket. But this road side breath test is not enough, they also need to conduct a more accurate analysis back at the station.

  1. Make your own report

Like the police, you can document your experiences. The more notes you take about your arrest, the easier it will be for us to fight the charges against you. Do this as soon as you can. If possible, include the following details in your notes:

  • the events leading up to your arrest
  • how much you had to drink and what you were drinking
  • how long after you were drinking before you were stopped
  • how the officer behaved and any instructions he gave you
  • what you said to the officer and how you responded to his instructions
  • where you were pulled over

Write down everything that you can think of, even if it does not strike you as totally relevant.

  1. Contact Us.

You need an experienced lawyer who knows the applicable laws and can help guide you through the legal process.

Please contact us to discuss how we can help.

Chris Leahy

General Counsel

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