There are few things less pleasant than being pulled over for a traffic offense. When that offense is a potential driving under the influence (DUI) charge, the situation can go from bad to worse surprisingly fast. Failing to handle police interactions well can lead to additional criminal charges or worse. Read on to find out what to do when being pulled over for a suspected DUI to avoid worst-case scenarios.
1. Follow Orders
If there’s one thing that will turn an already bad situation worse, it’s arguing with police officers while facing DUI charges. There is next to no chance that someone who is pulled over after a night of drinking will be able to talk their way out of being charged. Instead of arguing with the police, comply with their requests and then hire a DUI attorney as soon as possible.
2. Refuse the Initial Sobriety Tests
When a police officer believes a driver is operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, their primary goal is collecting sufficient evidence to arrest the person and compel chemical testing. Field sobriety tests are a prime example. Refusing to perform field sobriety tests does not constitute evidence of intoxication, so officers cannot legally compel the driver to take chemical testing. Performing the tests, on the other hand, could give the arresting officer not just cause to compel a breathalyzer test but also potential evidence that could be used against the driver later.
3. Take the Required Chemical Test
Sometimes, drivers are tempted to refuse breathalyzer tests in the field because they believe it will make proving the cases against them harder. In fact, refusing a breathalyzer test is considered a civil offense that could lead to the driver incurring additional fines and court costs. All states, including Michigan, have enacted implied consent laws that deem any driver to have given consent to chemical blood alcohol content testing by getting behind the wheel. While breathalyzer results are notoriously unreliable, a refusal to take the test after having been arrested will always incur added penalties.
4. Refuse Consent to Search
A lot of people assume that refusing consent to search a car will make them look guilty. In this case, the best solution is usually to say no. Unless there are exigent circumstances, evidence found during a warrantless search performed without consent won’t be allowed in court. If the officer does get a warrant or bring a drug dog onto the scene, there are still ways to challenge the results in court. If, on the other hand, a driver gives consent to search the vehicle and the officer finds evidence that could be used against the person in court, there’s nothing to be done about it after the fact.
Find a Lawyer ASAP
By far the most important step a driver can take in fighting a DUI is to find a lawyer as soon as possible after being arrested. Avoid talking to the police without a lawyer present. Even if there is clear evidence that a driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, there may still be ways to contest it in court.
DUI lawyers may also be able to get the charges reduced for clients or help them avoid jail time. However, drivers who have been arrested for DUIs can only get these kinds of help if they hire lawyers right away, so don’t hesitate. Call a local DUI lawyer as soon as possible to schedule a consultation.