What Do I Do If I Am Pulled Over And I Have Been Drinking?
First and foremost, don’t drink and drive. It is too easy to avoid drinking and driving. Call a friend, use Uber, call a cab, hail a pedi-cab, or walk home. However, if you are pulled over for suspicion of DWI/DUI, I recommend you follow these 6 steps
Manners MatterIt is extremely important to remember basic manners when being pulled over for a DWI/DUI - yes, officer; no, officer. You have to remember that police officers are just normal people doing a thankless job of keeping the rest of safe. As such, they are no different from the rest of us in that they are more likely to be courteous to you if you are courteous to them first. Keep in mind that everyone has bad days, and no one is immune from having a bad day on the job. The difference between you and police officers is that you probably do not run the risk of being killed during your bad day on the job. While a smile and manners may not keep you out of handcuffs, they will likely get you courteous treatment.
First Contact with the OfficerWhen you first speak with the officer, be it when the officer comes to your window or asks you to exit your vehicle, politely, ask the officer why he pulled you over. The officer will likely tell you he pulled you over for a traffic violation, i.e. speeding, wreckless driving, illegal lane change, broken taillight, etc., as opposed to a DWI/DUI.
License and Registration, PleaseProvide the officer all of the documentation he requests - license, registration, and proof of insurance. IF YOU KEEP YOUR REGISTRATION/INSURANCE IN YOUR GLOVE BOX AS WELL AS A FIREARM, IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO LET THE OFFICER KNOW THAT THERE IS A FIREARM IN THE GLOVE BOX PRIOR TO OPENING IT.
The Field Sobriety TestAt this point, the officer will either issue you a ticket for the traffic violation he pulled you over for and send you on your way, or he will request you take a field sobriety test.
The general purpose of the field sobriety test is not to determine if you are intoxicated but rather to compile evidence against you. In 9 situations out of 10, the officer has already decided to arrest you for DWI/DUI and you will be going to jail for the night.
The Art of Politely Refusing All TestsSince you are already likely to spend the night in jail, it is important to start mitigating your damages. Therefore, when the officer asks you to take a field sobriety test, politely repeat these words: "Respectfully officer, I decline all tests."
Upon arrival at the DUI/DWI processing center, the officer will ask you to submit to a breathalyzer test, politely repeat these words: "Respectfully officer, I refuse". By politely refusing to take either the field sobriety test or the breathalyzer test, you are limiting the amount of evidence the District Attorney can use to prosecute you for DWI/DUI.
At this point you will be processed and put in a holding cell until you make bond and are released.
Call an AttorneyWhen you are bonded out, your next step is retaining a criminal defense attorney who can review the evidence against you and advise you of your options moving forward, whether it be going to trial, getting into pre-trial diversion, or negotiating a plea bargain.