License, registration, and insurance card - the quicker and more effortlessly you get them, the less likely an officer will think you're drunk. It also prevents the chances of you "fumbling." What's fumbling? Well, it's when you drop your wallet, license, etc... after being asked by an officer to demonstrate said material. As most DWI/DUI attorneys know, the police officer will often cite "fumbling" of documentation as evidence of intoxication.
Police officers are human beings -- the nicer you treat them, the more likely they are to return the kindess. This doesn't mean you answer all of their questions, rather, it means you politely refuse to answer when necessary and address them as "Sir," "Ma'am," or "Officer."
You Have the Right to Maintain Your Silence
Why? Because the nature of the crime and indicators (such as slurred speech) may incriminate you. Therefore, unless it's the ordinary "booking questions" (what's your name, address), you don't have to answer. If the officer asks you "how much have you've been drinking," you could invoke your right to reamin silent or, if you're able, advise the officer, "I've been consulted by an attorney not to answer those types of questions." And PLEASE, don't say, "two beers" (the most common answer). For some reason, drivers think this doesn't sound bad to an officer, but as attorneys, we know any incriminating statement can and will be used against you by the officer and State's Attorney.
To Take or Not to Take the Preliminary Breathalyzer?
First, you're not obligated to do so. Transportation Art. ?16-205.2. Second, the accuracy of the PBT is less than reliable for a whole slew of scientific reasons (in another guide, I may expound on this topic). If you're arrested, you may be asked to give a breath sample at the station house. If you choose not to, you will face MVA penalties such as a 120 day suspension of your license (you face 45 days suspension if the BAC is lower than .15).Therefore, a driver may refuse a breath sample on the street with little reprecussion, but their rights are restricted considerably at the station. That notwithstanding, giving a breath sample at the station is not a black and white decision - that possibility should involve a discussion with an experienced attorney.
Field Sobriety Tests?
Nerves, the type of clothes/shoes you wear, the amount of hours you've been driving, physical disabilities, and even the geography of the testing area can all affect the outcome of the results. Point in fact, in one of my cases, an individual was tested on a gravely area with an incline while wearing high-heeled shoes. Because she could not walk in a straight manner or complete a one-leg test to the testing officer's satisfaction, she was cited for DWI/DUI. Nevertheless, there are risks to refusing to take the field sobriety tests, namely, the police officer may take you to jail should they find probable cause of DWI/DUI. That notwithstanding, because you chose not to take the field sobrierty tests, they may have less evidence against you.
Get an Attorney!
This isn't Judge Judy or People's Court -- the consequences of a DWI/DUI conviction can be severe and should not be chanced by a cavalier attitude.
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