What to Do If You Are Pulled Over for DUI in Tennessee
A quick guide on how to best handle being stopped for suspicion of DUI
Find a Safe Place to Pull Over, and Be PoliteIf you see the flashing blue lights in your rearview mirror but are not in an area where you feel comfortable pulling over, put your hazard lights on to let the officer know that you see him and intend to comply. Then, pull over as soon as you safely can. Be polite during any interaction with a police officer, but especially during the initial phase of the stop - this can often set the tone for how the rest of the interaction will proceed.
Cooperate IntelligentlyIf the officer asks you to step out of the vehicle, do so - failure to obey this command can result in being charged with resisting arrest.
After that, however, you should politely refuse to give any information other than your name, license and registration to the police officer. If the officer asks if you've been drinking, tell him, "Sorry officer, I have been advised only to give you my name, license, and registration."
Refuse a Breathalyzer, as well as any other form of field sobriety testYou have no legal obligation to perform a field sobriety test, and there are a multitude of reasons why you should not subject yourself to one. For one, a FST is entirely subjective; that is, the officer on the scene is the judge of whether you "pass" or "fail," there aren't any hard guidelines instructing him to decide one way or the other. Refuse a handheld breathalyzer as well - there is no need to give the state any evidence that it can use to build a case against you!
If/When you are arrested, call an attorneyA DUI conviction in the state of Tennessee cannot be expunged from your record - one of the few charges that carries such a permanent penalty. Once you have been convicted of a DUI, it will appear on every background check for the rest of your life. Therefore, it is imperative that you arm yourself with an experienced criminal defense attorney who has successfully handled DUI cases in the past- they will be able to collect all of the evidence and help plot a defense to attack your case. Trying to "go it alone" when facing DUI charges is not advised; the consequences are just too severe and lasting.