Have you received a DUI? Driving under the influence can have serious consequences and having the best criminal attorneys on your team to fight for you is important. If you were recently charged with driving while intoxicated, you’ve come to the right place.
Although driving under the influence is a serious crime, it is usually not committed by serious criminals. People who are charged with driving under the influence are often mothers and fathers, and working professionals, who just underestimated their blood alcohol level when they got behind the wheel. Although the best way to avoid being charged with a DUI is to have a designated driver or to call an Uber if you’ve put back one too many, the initial steps you take can have a huge impact on the outcome of your charge. Here are a few tips that will make your criminal attorney’s job easier after you’ve been sited:
- Utilize your greatest right
You’ve heard it before. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you. If you are pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence (or for any other reason, for that matter), the less information you put forth, the less likely you will be to incriminate yourself. You are obligated to supply your name and your paperwork that allows you to be on the road (your driver’s license, your registration, your proof of insurance). You are not obligated to answer questions such as:
- “Do you know why I pulled you over?”
- “Have you consumed any alcohol tonight?”
By all means, remain courteous to the officer, but keep your mouth shut. Do not volunteer any information and if the police officer asks you any questions that would lead you to admit guilt, simply answer that you do not know. The US Bill of Rights protects your right to be assumed innocent until proven guilty and to avoid answering any questions that are an admission of guilt.
- Decline a field sobriety test.
If the police officer asks you to say your alphabet backwards or to walk in a straight line, or take a breathalyzer test, he (or she) is doing so because they already assume you are guilty of driving under the influence. These test are inaccurate and you do not have to submit to them in the field. Many officers are good at convincing you to take a sobriety test. They may tell you that the test cannot be used against you in court. However, you do not have to and nothing good will come from complying with a field test. Your criminal defense attorneys will have more to work with and the prosecutors will have less to work with if you do not take any unnecessary incriminating tests.
Keep in mind that if you are arrested, you DO have to submit to a breathalyzer test at the station.
- Do not become argumentative or disrespectful to the police officer.
Regardless of how you feel about the situation, if you become argumentative to the police officer, you only do yourself a disservice. Much of the outcome of your situation lies in the hands of the officer who pulled you over, the best thing you can do for yourself is avoid making them your enemy. Remain calm, answer with “yes sir” and “no sir,” and be courteous, even if the words going through your head are four-letters long.
- Hire a good criminal attorney.
If you are arrested and charged with driving under the influence, your best chances lie in the hands of your criminal attorney. Look for a criminal attorney who specializes in fighting DUI charges specifically. Having a lawyer who is experienced in fighting your exact charges in your area gives you the best chances in a number of ways:
- Your lawyer will know the best approach to take to minimize the damage.
- They will likely have relationships and connections with other professionals in the DUI court, which may be used to your advantage.
- Their experience will help you avoid any mistakes that will lead to greater consequences.
Do you have any other tips for handling a DUI stop? Please share in the comment section below!