Visiting with family or an evening out with friends is followed by traveling back home. Before getting to your destination, the flashing lights of a police vehicle get your attention.
While nothing can change the outcome if you have been drinking and driving, essential steps are necessary from the moment you see those lights.
Finding a safe place to pull over is perhaps the easiest part of your night. Through observation, the officer saw signs of drunk or impaired driving. Their job is straightforward. Your job is to be as cooperative as possible. From the moment the officer noticed something to your conduct, your actions will be documented in a police report used for possible criminal trials and hearings involving suspension or revocation of your driver’s license.
Stay still and in the car. Do not look for the officer or get out of the vehicle. Keep your hands on the wheel at the requisite 10:00 and 2:00 until the officer arrives and requests your identification.
The simple act of politeness can make a significant difference. Being rude or combative will only make a bad situation worse, particularly when it comes to resisting arrest allegations. Complying with the officer’s questions and requests do require sincerity. Insincerity could easily be misinterpreted as sarcasm.
The officer may ask you questions. If those inquiries run the risk of incriminating you, specifically if you have been drinking and how much, don’t answer and don’t lie. Valid questions include asking for your name, license, registration, and insurance information. Your response can be as simple as an apology that you can’t answer the questions. While that decision has consequences in the short term, it can also have long-term benefits to your potential criminal case.
Assert your rights
Refuse field sobriety or a handheld breathalyzer test. Field sobriety testing is highly subjective, and roadside breathalyzers are infamous for unreliability. Refusals could lead to license suspension. However, it removes a key piece of evidence for prosecutors.
Drunk driving suspects are placed in near-impossible situations, balancing their need to cooperate with their constitutional rights. In the end, a skilled criminal defense attorney can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case.