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What to do when stopped for a DUI

Posted by attorney Brian Chase

By no means do I advocate drinking and driving. Driving under the influence is extremely dangerous. It can lead to serious injury or even death. Never drive while under the influence. The below information just highlights your rights; it is by no means a guide to escape responsibility when stopped for a DUI.

When stopped on suspicion of DUI:

  1. Give the officer your ID, registration and insurance when he requests it.
  2. If the officer does not immediately let you go after returning your license, ask him if you are free to leave. If possible, record this conversation with the officer.
  3. Do not answer the officer’s questions beyond your name and information on registration and insurance. Remember, you have your 5th Amendment right to remain silent. Nothing you can say will help you.
  4. Politely decline to do any Field Sobriety Tests. These tests are the HGN (eye test), the walk and turn (walk in a straight line, heel-to-toe), and one leg stand (stand on one leg with the other raised six inches).
  5. Decline to blow into the preliminary breath test (PBT) machine. The preliminary breath test is a small hand-held machine, and you are not required to blow into it.
  6. The officer will read you a form called “admin per se" and tell you that you must either blow into a breathalyzer (larger machine than the PBT) or provide a blood sample. He will warn you that if you do not, your license will be suspended for a year. You should comply and submit to the breath or blood test. If you do not, they WILL suspend your license. Then they will just call a judge and get a warrant to take your blood anyway.

Remember, you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do will be used against you. Be polite and respectful to the officer, but do not answer the officer’s questions. All you need to provide the officer is your name, your license, registration, and proof of insurance.

If you are arrested, get a lawyer. A DUI conviction will cost you time and money. Fines can be upwards of $5,000.

Be safe. Drink responsibly. Know your rights.

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