DUI Dos and Don’ts: Tips To Follow If You’re Pulled Over For Driving While Intoxicated
Every day in the U.S., people drive drunk nearly 300,000 times. Although fewer than 4,000 will be arrested for driving while intoxicated, that doesn’t mean they won’t get caught eventually. If you do happen to get pulled over with alcohol on your breath, there are a few best practices that, as DUI lawyers in Tulsa OK, we certainly recommend. These may not keep you from getting arrested in all cases, but they will level the playing field if your case ends up in court. And, of course, if you are arrested, be sure to call DUI lawyers to handle your case.
If you’re pulled over for a DUI, do…
- Have your identification ready
It’s a good idea to have your license, registration, and insurance card at the ready. That way, when a police officer approaches your car, you won’t be fumbling trying to find them. The shorter amount of time you give a police officer to observe your behavior, the better off you will likely be.
- Be respectful
You should always be polite and cooperative with all law enforcement. You might be upset or overwhelmed, but don’t be rude or aggressive in your interactions. This could cause a situation to escalate quickly and could result in more serious charges than the initial DUI. That doesn’t mean you have to answer an officer’s questions for the sake of being polite, but you should still be agreeable. Always use the word “sir” when talking to police officers.
- Ask for everything to be recorded
These days, police departments all over the nation have advanced dash and body camera systems. You should take advantage of them to make sure an officer’s account is accurate. Audio and video recordings are reliable evidence that can be used in court to discern whether an individual was intoxicated or whether an officer might be stretching the truth. While it may not always work in your favor, the best DUI lawyers in Tulsa OK will use all available evidence to argue for you in court.
When stopped for a DUI, don’t…
- Answer questions about alcohol or drug consumption
A police officer will likely ask you whether you’ve been drinking and how much. Remember: you do not have to answer these questions in any way. If you do, you may give the officer a reason to arrest you. Because there is no roadside test for marijuana, some officers will look for any sign that drivers are intoxicated with marijuana. Until you’re put under arrest, you are under no obligation to answer these questions — and if you are, you still have the right to an attorney and to remain silent. Remember that anything you say can be used against you, so don’t give them any ammunition. You should politely refuse to answer their questions without an attorney present. There are countless lawyers in Tulsa OK who represent DUI cases and who can assist you after an arrest.
- Consent to field sobriety tests you know you will fail
Different states have different laws pertaining to field sobriety test consent. Some states (including Oklahoma) have implied consent laws, meaning that by driving on state roads, you are giving consent to submitting to chemical BAC testing if you’re suspected of a DUI. That said, you do have a right to refuse field sobriety tests, breath tests, and chemical tests. However, you should keep in mind that it may lead to an automatic suspension of your license and that prosecutors may argue that your refusal is proof you were over the legal limit. Still, many lawyers in Tulsa OK would advise you to refuse to take these tests if you believe you are intoxicated. If they don’t have definitive proof, it’s much harder to build a case against you.
- Consent to a search
If you haven’t been arrested, you don’t have to consent to a search of your person, belongings, or car. Therefore, you should politely refuse a police officer’s request to conduct a search under these circumstances. After you’ve been arrested, you won’t have grounds to refuse. But before that happens, you shouldn’t allow a police officer access to your vehicle, even if you feel you have nothing to hide.
By following these practices during a potential DUI stop, you stand the best chance of protecting yourself. If you’ve been arrested for a DUI, you’ll need legal help throughout the ordeal to come. Be sure to contact lawyers in Tulsa OK that represent DUI suspects, and remember that you really are innocent until proven guilty.