How to Handle a DUI Traffic Stop
Driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) is illegal and puts each and every person you encounter at risk of injury or death. With that being said, it’s not illegal for a responsible person to consume an alcoholic beverage and then drive, as long as his or her blood alcohol content (BAC) does not reach or exceed 0.08 and his or her ability to operate the vehicle is not otherwise impaired.
Unfortunately, law enforcement officers all too often assume that anyone who has consumed alcohol is drunk. This is why we’ve outlined what you should do if you are pulled over for a suspected DUI.
The Initial Stop
When you first see a police officer’s lights turn on, you should immediately pull over to the right side of the road, roll down your window, and place your hands on both sides of the steering wheel so the officer can see them. When the officer approaches your vehicle, he or she will ask to see your license and vehicle registration, which you should have readily available in your glove box.
Admit to Nothing
The anxiety that comes with being pulled over leads to many motorists being talkative and friendly to ease the feeling of discomfort. This can lead to an officer taking something you said as a reason to investigate further or as an admission of guilt.
Even a statement as innocent as “I had one beer during the football game tonight” could give the officer further suspicions, which could lead him or her to then ask you to step out of your vehicle. It’s better to simply answer the questions as they pertain to your driving or vehicle only. Do not answer questions about what you’ve been doing that evening—or anything else, for that matter.
The Breathalyzer and Field Sobriety Test
If an officer asks you to step out of your vehicle, you can expect that he or she is going to ask you to perform tasks that are meant to gauge your ability to drive safely, such as walking in a straight line or reciting the alphabet backward.
You are under no legal obligation to complete a field sobriety test. You can politely decline to participate in this. Few people—even those who haven’t had a drink—are always able to pass these tests.
Those who do not pass a field sobriety test may be asked to breathe into a breath test or take some other form of chemical test to determine their BAC. If you’re thinking that you’ll be able to refuse to submit to chemical testing, you may be mistaken. If the officer has a warrant, refusal of a chemical BAC test is illegal, and even simple refusal of a breath test can result in a license suspension.
Consult with a Terre Haute DUI Lawyer
For more information on what you should do if you are pulled over for a suspected DUI, consult with an experienced Terre Haute DUI lawyer at Rowdy G. Williams Law Firm today. You can schedule a free, no-obligation claim evaluation by filling out the contact form below or giving us a call at 812-232-7400.