THE PRIMARY RULE IS NEVER TO DRINK AND DRIVE. However that said, many of us have been in and will be in situations where we may have had a drink or two or more and have made the mistake of driving home. Being pulled over by the police in any state can almost occur at anytime and for any reason. You could have a faulty light or made too far of a turn. Whatever the case may be, you may have had a drink or two that night or you may be severely under the influence of alcohol. Obviously the best way to avoid a DUI is to never drink and drive, however if you do get stopped while you have been drinking we have listed several tips to reduce the potential of your situation leading to a DUI conviction and make a bad situation as best and safe as possible.
Probably the first thing the officer that suspects you of a DUI looks for is your determination and judgment when you choose a place to pull over and with what care you negotiate your stop. Take a deep breathe, relax and do not panic! Understand that your ordeal is just beginning and carefully following these steps could help you. You must think throughout these steps. Therefore do not pull over in traffic. Put your blinker on and begin to slow, indicating that you are pulling over. Find a safe place and then come to a complete stop.
Each and every officer worries every night whether someone they pull over during a routine traffic stop will brandish a weapon and are especially on guard during a suspected DUI due to the impaired judgment of the driver. Keeping your hands in a comfortable position on the steering wheel where the officer can see them at all times will help ease the officers fears. The officer will instruct you to get your license and insurance when he approaches the car. Waiting for him or her to instruct you to get your license and insurance will get the situation off to the best start as possible because it will show deference to the officer.
Generally you will be required to give the officer that pulls you over your license, insurance information and registration. The Officer's first question most times will be to ask you whether you have been drinking, what you drank, how much, when, etc.? What to do? you have no requirement to answer these questions, and generally you should not. It is probably best if you let the officer know very politely "I have been advised not to answer these question and I do not wish to do so." Generally, speaking whatever answer you give will hurt you and most often will never help your situation.
When you have been drinking, one of the worst things you can do is lie to the officer. Telling the officer that you have had nothing to drink may come back to haunt you. The officer will know that you are lying and your lies will be used to impeach you in court if the case proceeds to that level. Choose to simply decline to answer these questions.
You have the right to decline the field sobriety test despite what the officer tells you. Most times, you should refuse the test altogether, because this test will hurt you in almost all cases. Officers will be very critical of you during your test and will exaggerate each and every one of your mistakes even if it was an accident. Also, the officer will never state what you have done correctly. Even if you perform reasonably well, the officer may fail you. Under these circumstances he will expect you to perform far and above what a sober athlete could even achieve.
Officers are supposed to inform you of your right to refuse the Preliminary Alcohol Screening Test which is a handheld test using a device providing by the DUI officer that he must ask you to blow into. Most often, you should refuse this test. The DUI PAS devise is very unreliable. It can also give falsely high readings that a prosecutor will use on you in court. That being said, however in some states, the officers will let you go if you blow below that limit.
Should you be arrested for a DUI, the officer will give you the option of a breath or blood test. In California as in many other states, you must take this test. You will not be forced to take the blood test but the ramifications should you not take the test may be extremely severe including a year suspension of your drivers license.
In most cases, if you do take the breath test, please, please, please pay close attention to your movements. You must appear as sober as possible. The breath test is much less reliable than a blood alcohol test and can be attacked later. With the breathe test, the officer will write the observations based on the breathe analysis, and therefore his observation may be way off. Many times the blood test will come back far inconsistent than what the officer has observed.
Whatever representation you have will need a detailed timeline of everything that transpired prior to the arrest. Where you drank, who you were with, what time it was, and what you drank...Everything! Try to write out this itinerary as soon as possible while it is still fresh in your mind. Also, save all receipts regarding that evening and who you were with and where you were until your arrest.
When you are arrested or prior to your arrest reach out to a family member or friend from your cell phone immediately. Allow a third person to hear you speak and give them information where you will be. Speak clearly and coherently and be sure to to speak slow or slur like the officer will allege.
Always be very polite and courteous to the officers. You must show the officer some respect and be very deferential. Do not say anything other than your name, license and registration. The officer has an enormous amount of discretion and could even let you go if he chose to. If he does arrest you for a DUI, he can leave your car at the scene rather than having it impounded, he can go easy in the report or he could allow you to make calls from your mobile phone. Always do your best to befriend the officer, it will only help you.
There is a great deal of lead way when being pulled over for a DUI. Try to follow these simple rules and it can only help. As a reminder, PLEASE DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE. Also see the Top Ten Things Not To Do If You Are Arrested Here: