1

Don't get out of your vehicle unless asked to do so.

The primary concern of most police officers is their own safety and yours. A motorist who exits his vehicle - particularly at night or on a busy roadway - could present a safety risk. A police officer might respond harshly if he believes that you are a threat to his safety or yours. There is also the risk that, if you do exit your vehicle when you have not been asked to do so, the police officer might observe physical behavior on your part (for example, you could stumble or stagger) which might lead the police officer to suspect that you are intoxicated. The best and safest bet is to remain in your vehicle until the officer asks you to step out.

2

Be firm (but polite) in exercising your rights.

If a police officer asks you to perform physical tasks (also known as "field sobriety tests"), it is up to you to decide whether you wish to participate. Some police officers may interpret a refusal to participate in field sobriety tests as a sign of your being "uncooperative" or even guilty of an intoxication offense. But the choice to participate is yours and no one can force you to engage in physical tasks. Yes, this might cause you to get arrested. But many DUI/DWI defense attorneys believe that field sobriety tests are not an accurate way to determine if a person is intoxicated. Rather, field sobriety tests seem more geared to proving that a motorist IS intoxicated. Whatever you decide to do, make sure that you are firm (but polite) in exercising your rights. During a traffic stop, there is a good chance that you are being video taped and audio taped. Such tapes are often used as evidence in later court proceedings.

3

Be very careful in deciding whether to take a breath test.

Many DUI/DWI defense attorneys believe that breath testing is not an accurate way to determine the alcohol concentration in a person's body. Further, DUI and DWI cases are usually more difficult and expensive to defend in court. For these reasons, may DUI/DWI defense attorneys suggest that a motorist not take a breath test (whether it's offered on the side of the road, at the police station, or both locations) when the motorist has had anything more than a single drink. CAUTION: Motorists should be aware that, due to "implied consent" laws, the refusal to take a breath test may result in the sustained loss of a driver's license or privilege to operate a motor vehicle. (Unfortunately, a breath test score above the "legal limit" often causes similar, if not worse, consequences for a person's driver's license or privilege to operate a motor vehicle.)

4

Consult with an experienced DUI/DWI defense attorney.

Many states have deadlines to request administrative hearings to protect your driver's license or privilege to operate a motor vehicle. There are other deadlines relating to courtroom procedure that must be respected. Consulting withn an experienced criminal defense attorney is almost always the best way to insure that your rights are protected.