Being pulled over on suspicion of DUI is already a bad sign. Here are 5 tips to make interaction with the police and your trial easy to handle.
Driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs is illegal everywhere in America. And if your driving habits or behavior suggest you're intoxicated, you're likely to be pulled over under suspicion of DUI.
Drunk or intoxicated driving is a big deal! The CDC tells us that over one-third of all traffic-related deaths are from drunk driving. That's over ten thousand people every year.
A suspicion of DUI, if it happens to you, is a major threat. A lot of consequences will come of that moment, so you should make the wisest decisions and be educated on how to respond.
Below, we've put together a list of 5 pieces of advice about a suspicion of DUI and how to handle it.
1. Don't Drink and Drive: The Penalty is Heavy
You will never want to be responsible for death or damage because of drunk driving. Beyond any legal or lawful circumstances, the guilt of killing or even severely injuring another person will last forever.
It may only be a single drink that sets you over the limit, a single drink for a lifetime of guilt. And that's before all the legal stuff starts kicking in.
If you're pulled over under suspicion of DUI, there are at least two charges you could face:
- A charge that you were driving with a blood alcohol level of over .08%, and
- A charge acknowledging that you were too impaired to drive because of drugs and/or alcohol
Obviously, the law is a lot more complicated than that, but it should give you an idea of the some of the consequences.
For starters, if you're convicted of a DUI, you will be losing your license. For how long depends on the offense and the state. Chances are, it'll be at least a year of no driving after being stopped by an officer.
There's a big chance you could go to prison for about a year and/or have to pay fines of thousands of dollars. Insurance will be canceled on your vehicle, and future insurance rates are very likely to go sky high.
And if you damage property or hurt anyone while under suspicion of DUI, things get a lot worse. Fast.
The best advice out there is not to drink and drive in the first place.
2. When You Should Refuse The Breathalyzer Test
There is no magical rule of thumb that will let you know when to take the test or not. It all depends on the situation, previous convictions, present standing with the law, etc.
The breathalyzer test, or Preliminary Breath Test (PBT), will gauge the amount of alcohol in your blood.
The legal limit for driving is .08%, and should you cross that, consequences are severe.
If it's an option, you should always talk to your attorney first. Understand, though, that refusal or accepting to take the breathalyzer test can be used against you in court.
However, there are some extreme examples where refusing the breathalyzer test might be your best option:
- You have been pulled over for suspicion of DUI before or have been arrested for it;
- You likely have a BAC of .20% or higher;
- or, you were involved in an accident that caused someone else serious injury or death
At that point, getting in touch with your lawyer is your safest bet.
If you have been drinking recently and are beyond the legal limit for driving, using the breathalyzer is cause for immediate arrest.
3. Refusing the Coordination Test
The coordination test might include things like standing on one foot or walking across a straight line. These actions test the driver's coordination, which, if they're driving, should be good enough to walk a straight line.
Just as refusing the breathalyzer, refusing the coordination test might seem to officers like you're guilty. But considering circumstances, you might refuse the test to talk with your attorney first.
Again, speaking with your attorney is the surest way of avoiding jail time. Know that refusing a test could be used as evidence in your trial.
4. How to Respond to Questions From Police
Citizens don't have to answer any questions that are meant to be incriminating. It would be wisest to request to speak with your attorney if stopped for suspicion of DUI.
The police, in certain circumstances, may not permit you to contact your attorney until after declining testing.
They might ask you things like:
- What were you doing before you got in your car?
- How many drinks and how much food did you have?
- Do you have any physical inabilities?
- Where are you heading?
These are normal procedures for police officers trying to keep the roads safe. If you truly only had a beer or two, then this shouldn't be incriminating. It might help to mention you had a drink if the smell of alcohol is on your breath.
5. What to Do if You're Arrested
In the event that you are arrested, you need to build up enough evidence for your attorney to make a case. Even having someone you know testify at the police station about your intoxication can be used.
Don't rely on first test results, either. It might be a good idea to offer to take a second test. This could help to remove unfavorable or incorrect results.
Sometimes this means posting bond first. Again, your attorney will know how to best leverage your situation. Contact them as soon as possible, and definitely if you're arrested.
Be Prepared in Case of a Suspicion of DUI
Far from assisting those who would endanger the road, we advise that every citizen know their rights and be prepared. A DUI or even just the suspicion of DUI is a serious and scary ordeal.
Be in touch with your lawyer in case such an incident should arise. The best advice we can give is not to drink and drive in the first place. Safety, for everyone, should always be a priority.
If you do get into a DUI or DWI situation, make sure to contact your lawyer as soon as possible.
Looking for more insightful law advice? Do you need an attorney? Contact us at Reeves and Lyle and let us know today!