Getting charged with a DUI (Driving Under the Influence Intoxicants) is something that can happen to anyone. Normal people get charged with DUI’s and completely innocent people get charged with DUI’s. People that are taking a valid prescription get charged with DUI’s and people that have smoked marijuana days prior to an arrest get charged with DUI’s.
Below are eight tips that everyone should know in case they get pulled over and investigated for DUI.
1. DO NOT ADMIT TO HAVING CONSUMED ANY ALCOHOL OR DRUGS.
When a police officer begins to question you about whether you have consumed any alcohol, smoked any marijuana, or taken any prescription drugs, he has begun an investigation against you. An officer is trying to establish “probable cause,” the standard he must meet to arrest you for DUI. Anything you tell him he will use against you. Admitting that you have been drinking or that you have smoked marijuana in the past will only be used to justify his decision to arrest you.
Regardless of whether you are sober, or completely drunk, you should answer “no.”
2. INVOKE YOUR RIGHT TO A LAWYER AND YOUR RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT.
Invoking your right to a lawyer and your right to remain silent cannot be used as evidence against you, in any criminal proceeding, ever. This means that if your case goes to trial the jury will not hear that you asked for a lawyer and the prosecutor will be able to argue that you “lawyered up” instead of answering the question. Tell the officer: “I am invoking my right to an attorney. I am not answering any more questions. Am I free to leave?”
Once you have invoked your right to a lawyer, then the officer should stop asking you questions. If he continues to do so, then your lawyer will be able to challenge the admission of any statements that you have made after your invocation.
3. DO NOT PERFORM FIELD SOBRIETY TESTS.
You will not perform your way out of an arrest. Field sobriety tests are terribly unfair and designed for you to fail. No one passes them. They are designed to trick you and they are designed to help the officer justify his decision to arrest you. Remember, an officer is trying to establish probable cause to arrest you. Your performance on the field sobriety tests will be used by the officer as evidence to justify your arrest. If you do not perform them then you are depriving the officer and the state of this evidence.
4. DO NOT CONSENT TO A SEARCH OF ANY KIND.
You do not have to allow a police officer to search anything of yours, so why would you? Refusing to allow a police officer to search you or your car is similar to invoking your right to a lawyer. Your refusal cannot be used as evidence against you.
You have constitutional protections against unreasonable searches. If you consent to a search you are waiving those rights.
5. ASK TO SPEAK TO A LAWYER BEFORE PROVIDING A BREATH SAMPLE.
If you have been arrested then you will be asked to take a breath test. Before making this decision you should ask to speak with a lawyer by telephone. You will likely be given an opportunity to make a phone call to an attorney. If you are denied this opportunity then this can be an advantage for you when you seek to challenge your driver’s license suspension.
6. ASK TO SPEAK TO YOUR SPOUSE OR SIGNIFICANT OTHER.
You are not constitutionally entitled to speak to your spouse or significant other before making your decision to take the breath test or not. However, if you are denied this opportunity then you will have an advantage when challenging your driver’s license suspension.
7. SHOULD YOU PROVIDE A BREATH SAMPLE?
The law surrounding the legality of coercing you into providing a breath sample is frequently changing. You will be told that if you refuse, then you will receive a longer license suspension than if you fail the breath test. If you have never had a DUI before (you are therefore likely eligible for diversion) then you should provide a breath sample. If you are not eligible for diversion, then you should refuse to provide a breath sample. Ask your attorney, or me, to explain this to you in greater detail.
8. ASK THAT YOU BE GIVEN AN OPPORTUNITY TO OBTAIN A BLOOD DRAW.
The officer is supposed to provide you with a reasonable opportunity to have a blood draw done at your own expense. Ask that the officer give you this opportunity. If you are released from jail then you should attempt to go to a hospital to have your blood drawn. If the officer instead decides to lodge you in the jail and you are not given the chance to obtain a blood draw then you will have an advantage in challenging your license suspension.