When You’re Pulled Over…

When You’re Pulled Over

…Especially If You’ve Had Something To Drink…

Do you know what to do to give yourself the best possible chance at the least possible disruption of your life (or even disaster) presented by the specter of a DUI charge?

Consider the story of Travis, a young man driving home from having a quick beer (or two) with friends after work.

The moment he sees the flashing lights in his rear-view mirror, Travis panics.  He feels like cold water is filling his body.  He gets the car pulled over, and his mind starts racing.  What should he do?  How should he act?  He looks in the rear-view mirror and sees the officer approaching on the driver’s side, flashlight in hand.  What should he say to him?

Travis is like any of us… he’s a decent, hard-working fellow who has never really been in much trouble.  He respects authority.  He knows DUI can wreck his life… but he hasn’t had that much to drink (has he?).  He starts to think this is not going to be a big deal.  He can be cool, and be on his way shortly.

He wonders why the officer pulled him over in the first place.

No Matter How Friendly, The Officer Is Not On Your Side

Travis greets the officer warmly… almost enthusiastically.  He’s asked if he’s been drinking, and Travis decides a truthful (if somewhat evasive) answer is probably best: “Oh, not much,” he says.  “Just a beer or two after work.”

(Or was it three beers?  Maybe four?  Travis wasn’t really counting.)

Travis shows his paperwork – license, registration, proof of insurance – and the friendly officer politely asks him to take a roadside sobriety test.  He presents a breathalyzer.  Travis, of course, wants to cooperate completely.  He’s a nice guy!  He’s no threat to anybody, certainly not to this officer!  So, of course, Travis agrees to the breathalyzer.

Before long, Travis is arrested and booked with Driving Under the Influence of alcohol (DUI).

It’s starting to look like a bigger deal.

And Travis’ ordeal is only just beginning.

Don’t Make The Other Side’s Case Against You Easy

If Travis contacts me at this point, I’ll do everything I can to bring the power of my unique knowledge of the science of DUI (and my firm’s unique team approach) to bear on his behalf.

Travis’ story is not atypical.  We’re raised to respect authority, and many people think full cooperation with an officer who’s pulled you over is the right thing to do.

Maybe it isn’t the wrong thing to do… but in the case of a possible DUI charge, it definitely won’t be the smart thing to do to protect your good name, your fortune, and your future.

As I told a group of professionals the other day, if the officer who pulled you over after you’ve had alcohol has heard the sound of your voice, you’ve probably already said too much.

It may seem counter-intuitive; but if you’re pulled over after drinking:

  • Do not tell the officer what you’ve had to drink, or how long ago you consumed alcohol.  You are basically confessing that you drank and drove.
  • Do not consent to roadside sobriety tests.  No matter how sure you are that you’ll “pass,” the result of those tests will likely form the key “probable cause” piece of the case against you.
  • Do not, if you’re contacted in a parked car, tell the officer how long it’s been since you drove.  Again, that amounts to a confession that you drank and drove.

These are the first steps that you take in order to give yourself the best possible chance to experience the least possible disruption to your life as a result of drinking and driving.

If you have a drink or two and get a DUI, call your attorney as soon as possible.  The first few days after receiving a DUI may be critical.  Make the call to the pros, and let the pros make the calls from that point forward.  You’ll be thankful you did.