Did you know that there were over 10,000 deaths related to drinking and driving in the United States in 2016? It’s safe to say that you should never get behind the wheel of an automobile if you’ve had too much to drink because one bad decision can cost a life.
With that being said, if you’ve had one or two drinks, and you get pulled over, it can still be a rough night. Depending on how the officer decides to approach the situation, you can even end up in jail, which isn’t ideal, to say the least.
So what is the best way to approach a DUI stop? And what are a few tips and tricks you should keep in mind so you can ensure things go smoothly? We’ve got the answers to those questions, and more, in this article!
Now then, let’s get started!
Find a Safe Place to Pull Over
The moment you see flashing lights in your rearview mirror, your interaction with the officer has already begun. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to do everything you can to start this interaction off on the right foot.
You may feel obligated to pull over as quickly as possible… don’t. Put on your emergency blinkers to let the officer know you see them, then take your time finding a safe place to pull over.
Look for an area that is well lit and away from oncoming traffic, so both you and the office are safe. If the officer asks what took you so long to pull over, be honest and let them know you wanted to find a well-lit area away from traffic, they’ll be appreciative.
Keep Your Hands on the Steering Wheel
One of the perks of finding a well-lit area to park in is that it makes it easier for an officer to see you inside of your car. And while that is helpful, it’s still a good idea to keep your hands on the steering wheel so the officer can see them at all times.
If you need to move to grab something, like your registration out of your glove box, let the officer know beforehand. Like most interactions with the police, communication is key.
Be Respectful Toward the Officer
No matter how frustrated you get during the situation, or how rude or disrespectful the officer is towards you, be respectful at all times. It goes without saying, but being a jerk to someone who is most likely about to arrest you isn’t a good idea.
Answer Any Questions
Once the officer has suspected that you’ve been drinking, they will ask you about how many drinks you’ve had. Answer all questions honestly. Lying isn’t going to help you out in this situation.
Also, it’s a good idea to go ahead and accept that, at best, you’re going to be taken in for further testing. So any expectations that you’re going to be allowed to leave should be out the window the moment you’re pulled over for a suspected DUI.
Refuse Any Tests on the Scene
The officer is most likely going to ask you to take a few different tests to confirm whether or not you’re over the legal limit. The two most common tests are the field sobriety test and the handheld breathalyzer test, both of which can be widely inaccurate.
Even if you think you can pass them both, refuse to take any tests on the scene of the traffic stop.
Again, once you do this, you’re going to be booked and taken back to the station for further testing. But it’s better to go that route, and take a more accurate test, then to leave it up to two tests that are often very inaccurate.
Take a Chemical Test at the Police Station
Be sure to specify to the officer that you want to take a chemical test back at the police station. At this time, you’re not under arrest, but you will most likely be handcuffed and placed in the back of a police car, which is never fun.
Once you arrive at the station, maintain a respectful and honest approach. You’re probably going to ruffle some feathers by doing things this way but it 100% within your legal right to do so, so don’t feel too bad.
Contact an Attorney
Whether or not you pass the chemical test will determine if you’re going to be arrested for DUI. If you are arrested, it’s a good idea to contact an attorney immediately to make sure none of your rights were violated.
And after you’re pulled over, if you feel that you were treated unfairly, write down what happened ASAP so you can have an accurate recollection. That can be useful later down the road should legal action be required.
What to Do During a DUI Stop
Well, there you have it! That is a basic guideline that you should follow during any DUI stop. So as long as you keep these ideas in mind, you should be able to navigate the situation as smoothly as possible.
Remember, above all else, it’s a good idea to be respectful and look out for the officer first. Take your time finding a place to pull over, and don’t be rude or aggressive at all during your interactions.
Be honest, but also be firm, and don’t be afraid to invoke your rights. You don’t have to take a field sobriety test, or a handheld breathalyzer test, nor should you, to be honest.
When you get to the police station to take your chemical test, maintain a respectful attitude and follow all orders. And if the situation goes south, be sure to contact an attorney afterward immediately.
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