It is Friday night and you have had a few drinks by yourself or with some friends. A few hours pass but you feel confident enough that you can get back home safely. After insisting with your friends that you are fine, you get into your car thinking that your chances of getting pulled over are slim.
After more than thirty minutes you start to notice your driving has begun to get a bit shaky. And then it happens. You see the flashing lights in your rearview mirror. Panic sets in as you know that getting convicted for driving under the influence (DUI) carries serious repercussions.
So what do you do? Getting a DUI should never be taken lightly. New DUI related bills are introduced every year to make punishment harsher. The following is an overview of what to do to best handle the situation.
1. Safely pull over
The worst thing you could do is make a full stop in the middle of the road. The first thing to do is pull over to a safe location preferably to the right shoulder of the road. Driving erratically or pulling over in an unsafe manner will be noted in the police report.
2. Be polite
Never show any belligerent behavior towards a police officer as doing so will give them more reason to convict you. Do not make any sudden movements and comply with the officer for requests of your driver’s license. One mistake that many drivers make is incriminating themselves. While you should aim to be as honest as possible, you should also refuse to answer any questions which could incriminate you.
3. Refuse a field sobriety test
Police officers can ask you to take a field sobriety test to assess whether you are drunk. These tests are entirely subjective and are not reliable indicators of being intoxicated. DUI lawyers recommend taking a breath test as their validity is easier to challenge in court than a blood test.
4. Hire a lawyer
Under no circumstances should you have a general attorney represent you. Drunk driving is a serious offense which requires the expertise of a DUI lawyer. Finding a qualified lawyer who can build a strong case for you cannot be stressed enough.
5. Document everything
A notice will appear in your mailbox to appear in court. Make sure to follow all instructions otherwise you risk losing your license. While you wait, it is strongly recommended to start building your own case file by carefully documenting everything from that night and keeping all related paperwork.
For the safety of yourself and the safety of others, if you have a few drinks do not risk driving. Just like texting and driving, driving under the influence of alcohol can have serious consequences, like the loss of your license, community service, or even jail time. If you plan on going out with a group of friends make sure someone is the designated driver or make sure you have the number of a local cab company.