What happens if I’m stopped for drunk driving?
When you’re stopped for drunk driving DUI/DWI, or for something else and a police officer has reason to believe you’ve been drinking, you will generally be asked to take a sobriety test to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC) level. Most states have ‘implied consent’ laws which means that you must submit to a test or face fines and/or license suspension – sometimes right on the spot – for refusing to take the test.
Do I have to answer the officer’s questions when I am stopped?
When questioned for a DUI before being arrested, you are not in custody for the purposes of Miranda warnings under many state DUI laws. If you politely refuse to answer any of the questions concerning the DUI investigation, either before or after the arrest, then there won’t be any statements that can be used against you in court.
Do I have to take a Field Sobriety Test?
Field Sobriety Tests are completely voluntary in some states. If you do them, you may be arrested anyway. It may be better not to give the police any evidence that will be used against you in court. You can politely refuse to do the Field Sobriety exercises.
Do I have a right to an attorney while taking a field sobriety test?
There is no right to an attorney until the individual is given the opportunity to take a breath, blood or urine test, or refusal of taking a chemical test.
Do I have to take a breath test or should I take a blood test?
When given a choice of a blood, breath, or urine chemical test after arrest, choose the urine test, if it is available. It is the most unreliable; but, the officer may only offer a blood or breath test. If a urine test is not an option, choose to take the breath test. The breath machines are not 100% exact and there are many possibilities for error.
What physical and behavioral symptoms does an officer look for when he pulls me over?
Police officers are trained to looks for specific signs:
- A flushed, or red, face
- Red, watery, glassy and/or bloodshot eyes
- Alcohol on your breath
- Incoherent or slurred speech
- Struggling to retrieve your license from your wallet
- Inability to comprehend the officer’s questions
- Difficulty when exiting your vehicle
- Unable to stay balanced while standing
- Using the vehicle for support standing
- Aggressive or other inappropriate attitude
- Soiled, rumpled, disorderly clothing
- Inability to keep your balance while walking
- No knowledge of the current time or your location
- Inability to comprehend and/or follow directions
What happens after I’m stopped?
If you refuse a field sobriety test, or if you take the test and you have a BAC over your state’s legal limit, chances are you’ll be taken into custody and brought to a police station where you’ll be held until someone can pick you up. Your license may be temporarily suspended and your vehicle may be impounded after the arrest, too.
It’s important to remember to always be respectful and courteous to the police. Your behavior can be used as evidence during a trial, and can sway a jury. Also, some jurisdictions use video cameras to tape breath tests, bookings, and questionings. This is valuable evidence and can be used to help or hurt your case.