Every night, all over the world, thousands of people are stopped by law enforcement and are automatically asked if they are under the influence of alcohol. As an experienced criminal defense attorney, I see mistakes made by drivers all the time. You might just be driving home from an event, where you may have had a glass of wine, and suddenly the lights are flashing behind your car, as nervous as you are, it’s best to remember the following:
- Be sure to put your turn signal on and pull over slowly and safely to the side of the road.
- Don’t get out of the car, sit still while keeping your hands on the wheel while the officer approaches your car. This is not the time to look for your information, pick up your phone or anything else. Police are jumpy.
- Be polite. Never act as if you have something to hide or have done anything wrong. Speak calmly and do as the officer says.
- When you are asked, produce your driver’s license, registration and insurance card. Remain calm and know that you are being watched. Every move you make, the officer is watching your maneuvers.
- Absolutely use your right to the Fifth Amendment. You have the right to remain silent and refrain from answering any and all questions. When you are asked if you have been drinking, say only that you are claiming your right to remain silent. Do not incriminate yourself by discussing where you were, who you were with, where you were going or if you had even one glass of wine.
- Refuse any testing. Remember, even ONE glass of wine could possible show up on a test as over the limit. Politely decline.
- Only if you are asked by the police officer to get out of your car, should you do so.
- Ask to call an experienced criminal defense attorney.
The Bottom Line: If you find yourself in this situation, the officer might continue to question you, press you to answer his questions. Do not give any more information than your name. Giving more information or making unnecessary comments will only hurt you later in court. Stay strong, polite and don’t be intimidated; say only, “I need to call my criminal defense attorney”
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