Criminal Defense Lawyer Shares What to Do When Pulled Over for a DUI

  1. Young police officer holding a portable breathalyzer at a DUI stop

The blaring siren and bright lights of a police car behind you can be a highly stressful experience for anyone. This is especially true if this is the first time you’ve been pulled over by a police officer or if you know you’ve consumed even a tiny bit of alcohol. Ideally, you should not be drinking and driving at all, but if you ever find yourself in such a scenario, here are a few steps your criminal defense lawyer would want you to take:

Stay Polite, Stay Safe

Even if you feel as if you were pulled over unfairly, try to remain polite with the police officer. More often than not, bad behavior and rudeness is linked to intoxication in DUI cases. This holds true even if you believe the arresting officer was rude or aggressive towards you.

Additionally, keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times, unless you were explicitly asked to provide your license and registration. This can help put your officer at ease as he or she can see you have no weapons on you.

Use Your Right to Remain Silent

You always have the right to remain silent, even if you have not yet been read your Miranda rights. Police officers are trained to squirrel their way into making you provide incriminating statements. Even a seemingly harmless tidbit like “I just got back from dinner with friends” can easily lead to a conversation about having a beer or two. Other than providing necessary information such as your name, address, proof of insurance, and the like, you are no obligated to respond to an officer’s questions. Verbally invoke your right to remain silent.

No Portable Breath Tests

Washington DUI laws state that those who refuse a breath test are liable for lengthy license suspension periods. However, most people do not realize that this law only covers breath tests conducted at the police station. In other words, portable breathalyzer tests are optional in Washington. If prompted by your arresting officer, politely inform him that you would prefer to take the breath test at the station over the portable breath test.

Call a Lawyer ASAP

Once you’ve been brought to the police station and taken the breath test, immediately call a respected criminal defense lawyer with experience in handling DUI cases such as Attorney Kim E. Hunter. Politely inform officers that you are exercising your right to remain silent until your lawyer arrives. This protects you from self-incrimination during interrogations, as well as provides your lawyer with time to find out any details that may lead to your case being thrown out of court.

Sources:

First-Offense DUI in Washington, DUI.DrivingLaws.org

DUI Do’s and Don’ts, LegalZoom.com