When stopped for suspicion of driving under the influence, how a driver responds to police can make a big difference in what happens afterwards. Criminal defense attorneys represent many drivers stopped for DWI/DUI. One of the most important suggestions they have for anyone pulled over for this is to remember that what happens during the stop can either make or break their case. It is essential for drivers to act appropriately, but without incriminating themselves, and speak to a DUI defense attorney as soon as possible.
Being Stopped for Suspected DUI
Criminal defense attorneys assert that when stopped for a suspected DUI, be polite and listen to the police officer. He or she will request to see a driver’s license, car registration and proof of car insurance - as is standard for any vehicle stop. It is a good idea to always have those items readily available since the officer will observe their retrieval to note any obvious signs of incoordination, or suspicion of drinking.
If there is a suspicion of drinking from incoordination, the officer smells alcohol, or there is some other reason, they will ask the driver if they have been drinking, and to get out of the car. Lawyers from knowledgeable DUI defense law firms contend that a driver should never lie if they have been drinking, but they are also not obligated to answer the question. A driver may politely decline to answer by exercising their right to remain silent.
Taking or Refusing Roadside Sobriety Tests
Whether a driver answers a police officer's initial questions or not, if they are asked to get out of the car, they should do so. The officer may then ask a driver to perform some roadside sobriety tests - like a breathalyzer test, or some coordination tests, etc. Once again, drivers are not required to take those tests, and may politely, but confidently refuse them. There is no penalty for refusing roadside sobriety tests. At that point the officer must decide whether or not there is enough evidence to arrest based solely on what they have observed.
What To Do If Arrested
Should an officer decide there is enough suspicion that a driver has been drinking, they will be arrested and brought to the police station for processing. A driver is read their rights at the scene, and asked some questions. DUI defense attorneys advise that drivers should exercise their right to remain silent, and politely tell the arresting officer they are exercising that right.
Once charges are read and the driver is transported to the police station, they will again be questioned and asked to take a breathalyzer test. Refusal of this second breath test results in a driver initially losing their license, but they may speak with an attorney prior to making a decision as to whether or not they should take the breath test. It is advisable to contact a lawyer from one of a number of expert DUI defense law firms at this time, before answering any questions or deciding whether to take the breath test. The person charged will then be permitted to call a lawyer to discuss the situation and determine whether to take the breath test, and what else should be done from this point forward.
When Charged with DWI/DUI
If a driver is charged with a DWI/DUI, they must either post bail and return to court on a designated date; or, if they cannot post bail, remain in jail until the next business day to appear before a judge. In court, the person charged will be asked to plead guilty or not guilty. A driver who intends to fight DWI/DUI charges by pleading not guilty should then hire an attorney, if they have not already done so. If they cannot afford one, a person can request that one be provided for them.
When a stop for suspected DWI/DUI leads to arrest and charges, a driver must quickly enlist the counsel of a DUI defense attorney from a good DUI defense law firm to help them avoid conviction. Criminal defense attorneys experienced in DWI/DUI cases are an essential part of every driver’s case, and helping them to avoid the significant consequences that come with DWI/DUI conviction!
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