It’s important to understand that a DUI is a very serious charge. The actions you take from the moment you get pulled over can all greatly impact the outcome of your time in court. Due to the high emotions and stress of the situation, it’s easy to make mistakes, most of which will come back to haunt you, especially when you’re in court. If you get pulled over for a DUI, here are a few guidelines to keep in mind that will help to keep you from getting into further trouble in the future.
Photo Taken By: Oregon Department of Transportation
Be Polite to the Officer
Especially if you’re Refusing Consent- One of the most common mistakes people make when getting pulled over is with regards to the officer. One of the worst things you can do in this situation is to mouthoff, talk back or as otherwise disrespect the officer. Despite the badge, they are still just a person and they are doing they’re job. By being courteous, polite and respectful, you’re showing that you both understand their job and are respectful of it. It can also keep a stop for a simple traffic violation from quickly escalating into something more serious. By being polite, you might help to create, in their minds, a more favorable memory of you, which can be very beneficial. This is very important to remember, especially if you’re refusing to answer questions or participate in the field sobriety tests.
Don’t Answer Questions
Unfortunately, when it comes to determining if someone is under the influence, the officer will ask questions. It’s not in your best interest to answer these questions as any one of them can be misconstrued to paint you in a bad light when it comes time for court. When it comes to questions of whether or not you’ve been drinking, what you were doing, or where you’re going, don’t answer. Any one of those answers can open the gate for the officer to suspect you of driving under the influence. Once again, it’s important to be polite during this time, especially while declining to answer questions.
Don’t Take the Field Sobriety Tests
You have an absolute right to refuse to take the field sobriety tests, and it’s very important to exercise that right. The problem with field sobriety tests, is that between being improperly conducted and evaluated, there’s almost no chance you’ll pass, even if you weren’t drinking to begin with. By participating in an FST you’re giving the officer probable cause to suspect you were drinking which will reflect negatively for you when it comes time to go to court. Politely decline the test. While it might make the current situation all the more unpleasant, it’s better for you in the long run.
Hire an Attorney
Perhaps the most important step when it comes to getting a DUI is to hire an attorney. A DUI defense lawyer, through experience and understanding of state DUI systems, is able to present the most viable defense option for you in court, or at the very least, lessen the amounts of punishments and penalties you’d face for a conviction as otherwise. A DUI is a very serious charge and the impact of it can be felt for a long time after the charge has been made. Don’t leave yourself in that situation, hire a lawyer as soon as possible.
+Andrew is one of the leading DUI and criminal defense attorneys in both the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia. He discusses Maryland DUI and criminal law on the Alpert Schreyer blog, has numerous videos on the subject and has been asked to appear on national television to offer his legal opinion on high-profile criminal cases.