Essential Tips For Handling A DUI Investigation
If you are stopped during routine law enforcement roadblocks when police officers check drivers for sobriety, it is possible that you will be requested to take a blood alcohol test. Furthermore, if a cop suspects that you are driving under the influence of alcohol, you face the possibility of an arrest even if you do not take a field sobriety test. However, you can make the experience less stressful by adhering to the following tips:
Do Not Be a Jerk
When police officers set up DUI checkpoints, they are simply doing their job. If you become the target of officers trying to discern if you are drunk or impaired by drugs, it is in your best interest to be accommodating and polite. Acting in a hostile or belligerent manner and making sarcastic comments does not help the situation.
Even if you decline to undergo a field sobriety test, you can do so in a polite manner. Do not try to stall handing over your driver's license, registration and proof of insurance and answering basic personal questions. Nothing you can say to the police officers will make them halt their DUI investigation so do yourself a favor and cooperate.
Do Not Answer DUI-related Questions
Even if you are frightened and just want to get the ordeal over as soon as possible, keep a clear head when listening to and answering questions. You are not obligated to answer any queries regarding the specifics of why police officers suspect that you are driving under the influence of alcohol or other substances.
Statements that you make to police officers can be used against you later in court. You can politely state to officers that you decline to answer any questions until you consult a lawyer.
Even if police officers try to pressure you into answering questions, remain cordial and decline to respond. If you are feel that you are not in fact over the legal limit for alcohol while driving, you will not have to worry about some statement you made coming back to haunt you because you were nervous at the time or felt pressure to give a statement.
Do Not Take Any Field Sobriety Tests Before Your Arrest
There are several tests that police officers give to drivers to test for sobriety in the field. You may be asked to:
- Undergo breath analysis
- Take a balance or physical coordination test
- Answer questions to test your mental agility
While some states require you to take a chemical test once you are at the police station, you are not required to complete field tests before you are arrested. If officers decide to arrest, you may be required to take field sobriety tests depending on where you live. Each state has different requirements for checkpoints and sobriety tests.
Contact a Criminal Lawyer as Soon as Possible
Do not hesitate to contact a criminal defense lawyer with extensive experience in handling DUI cases. If there were other people in the car with you, ask them to contact a lawyer for you. Otherwise, make the call to an attorney as soon as possible after you are detained or arrested.
In addition, refrain from taking advice from non-lawyers about what actions you should take to handle a DUI or try to conduct your own legal research. DUI cases are complex and you do not want to jeopardize your case by listening to family or friends, even if they have been arrested for a DUI in the past.
Each case is different with a unique set of circumstances. So let your loved ones know that you appreciate their concern and willingness to help but only heed the instructions of your attorney.
Overall, the best way to avoid dealing with a DUI charge is to simply not drive after having a drink even if you think you are ready to get behind the wheel hours after a drinking a beer. Furthermore, in 2013 the federal government recommended that states lower their legal blood alcohol concentration levels, a development that could make it harder for drivers to pass sobriety tests.