What to Do If Stopped For A DUI Or DWI - Legal Advice

What if your life as you know it ended in a single night? 

That's exactly what happens for many people who are stopped for a DUI (Drinking Under the Influence). Why? Simple: because they don't know what to do next! 

Fortunately, we've put together the ultimate guide for what to do if you get stopped for a DUI or DWI (Drinking While Intoxicated) whether you've had too much alcohol to drink or not. Keep reading to learn all the secrets! 

Safely Stop 

Believe it or not, you'll be taking your first important step before you've even parked. Because as soon as those police lights come on, the officer is watching everything you do! 

That's why it's important to find a safe place to pull over and then smoothly and safely bring the vehicle to a halt. Remember, the officer is looking for signs of dangerous driving, so don't give him anything to notice. 

In the "worst case," you may end up in a criminal trial for a DUI or DWI. In that case, the police report about your behavior can play a major role, so it's important to be on your best behavior. 

Patiently Wait 

Now that you're pulled over, it's time to wait for the officer to come to your door. Here are a few of the things you should do while you wait for a dwi/dui defense.

First, pull down both windows. The officer will most likely come to the driver's side, but pulling down both shows courtesy and gives him options. 

Second, go ahead and get your license, registration, and insurance information out. This will likely be the first thing he asks you for. 

Third, keep both hands on the steering wheel and wait for his arrival. Making your hands clearly visible helps signify you are not a threat to the officer's safety. 

The Respect Game 

Your conversation with the police officer is potentially very dangerous. Saying the wrong thing can really hurt your chances of avoiding an arrest. 

We have several tips below for what to say to the officer during this time. Above it all, though, you must remember to be respectful and polite. 

That means not raising your voice, using a friendly tone, addressing them as "sir" or "ma'am," etc. In short, the way that you address the officer greatly influence what their written report will look like. 

And, as we have indicated, that written report will play a big role if you go to court! 

Don't Incriminate Yourself 

Part of being polite is answering the officer's questions. However, you must not say anything that will incriminate you and hurt your case. 

Generally, police officers count on you being nervous and blurting out incriminating info. You can avoid this by knowing ahead of time what not to talk about. 

For example, you are required to give the officer your name as well as license, registration, and insurance info. And that's all you are legally required to give them. 

You are allowed to say that you "would prefer not to answer any more questions" or "I have been advised to not answer such questions" at any point. 

It's possible to strike a balance between honestly answering some questions and avoiding self-incrimination during a DUI or DWI stop. 

To help avoid common mistakes many drivers make, you can find out more about DWIs right now on a variety of helpful legal websites

The Art Of Refusal 

You will most likely be asked to perform a roadside sobriety test or to blow into a handheld breathalyzer. Our advice? Avoid those tests at all costs. 

We'll start with the bad news: in some extreme cases, such a refusal may result in an automatic suspension of your license. However, this is generally better than being arrested, going to jail, and heading to criminal court. 

And if you didn't know, these tests are very unreliable. The roadside sobriety test requires the subjective opinion of the police officer, and the breathalyzer results can be skewed by a number of factors. 

It is within the officer's rights to arrest you and make you take a chemical test back at the police station. If that happens, there are a few more key steps you must follow. 

Lawyer Up 

This is one time when all those TV shows and movies didn't lie to you. If you have been arrested, the only thing you should say is that you want to see an attorney. Make this request in the police car and again at the station. 

If you talk during the car ride, then your words may be used against you. And the police are obligated to provide you with an attorney upon request (such as a public defender), so you don't have to answer any questions without legal counsel. 

It may take some time for the attorney to arrive, especially late at night. Unfortunately, you may have to take the chemical test before they arrive. 

Pick Your Poison 

When it comes to the chemical test, you are typically given two options: the breath test or the blood test. We recommend you take the breath test. 

If you refuse the breath test once you are brought to the station, you will automatically lose your license for the year. Believe it or not, you most likely have better chances of taking the test! 

First, while better than the roadside ones, these breathalyzers are still unreliable. Even if you had been drinking or using substances earlier in the evening, there is a chance you will now be under the limit on the test. 

Second, because they are unreliable, your attorney may be able to argue against the breathalyzer results. And he will have an easier time arguing against it than you will have to get your license back if you refuse the test. 

After the test, take your attorney's advice. He may recommend taking other tests that will ultimately help your case, especially if this ends up going to trial. 

What To Do When Stopped For A DUI: The Bottom Line 

Now you know what to do when stopped for a DUI. But do you know what you'll do after you win your drinking under the influence case? We wish you the best and hope that if you were drinking too much and have a problem that you stop drinking alcohol or at least not get behind the wheel when drinking. 

Stay sober or at least stay safe and avoid further drinking while intoxicated legal charges!

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