A DUI is a serious offense and can have a major impact on your life for years to come if you are convicted. You need to know the best way to behave and what you should do when you are pulled over because it can help to lower your chances of a conviction. Often just knowing what will happen and how you should respond can help the situation.
- Know that what you say is most important. Anything you say can and most likely will be used against you AND could give law enforcement a reason to arrest you. As mad or nervous as you may be, don’t insult or talk back to an officer, ever. Remain calm and polite; getting belligerent will only make the situation worse.
- Remember that you can’t be arrested for remaining silent and not answering questions. Show your driver’s license, registration and proof of your insurance. Law enforcement is counting on you being nervous enough to answer questions that will likely incriminate yourself. You could be asked if and how much you were drinking and where you are coming from – simply say, “I’m sorry, I have been advised to not answer any questions.” Do not give any false information or lie.
- If you are asked to be searched on your person or your car, refuse. You do not have to consent to a search. If you do, however, you may be waiving your Constitutional Right to be free from unreasonable search or seizure and damage your defense in court. Don’t physically resist, ask to call your criminal defense attorney in Ohio.
- If law enforcement asks you to hand over anything and you are not under arrest; don’t. That, too will be considered consent on your part.
- Refuse a field sobriety test as you are under no legal obligation to perform this. They are considered one of the most effective tools that law enforcement has on them to collect evidence against you – but are so subjective that many “false positive” results occur. Also, refuse a breathalyzer – they are notoriously unreliable.
- Law enforcement does not have the right to extend the traffic stop beyond the original reason for the stop unless you have given them reasonable suspicion that other criminal acts have occurred. Once you have received a ticket or a warning, you are legally free to leave. Many of my clients have been trapped in a prolonged stop – where after the ticket is given law enforcement asks more questions and tries to search your car. At this point, the best thing for you to ask is; “Does this concern the reason that you stopped me?” or “Am I under arrest?” or “Am I free to leave?”
- Once you have been released, try to write down everything that you remember about the stop – the entire night. The more notes you take the easier it will be for a criminal defense attorney to advocate for you and fight the charges against you.
The Bottom Line: You may be arrested even if you don’t answer any questions, don’t consent to a search or any testing, but the more you exercise all of your Constitutional rights the harder it will be for you to be convicted. You will need a criminal defense attorney to fight for your rights, so the first thing you should do is call one. Put my number in your mobile and know that I can be reached always. 513-260-2099