I received an email via my contact page from Brandon Leuangpaseuth, who wanted to share some tips to get through a DUI checkpoint. - Tom.
Getting pulled over for drinking and driving can be a stressful situation. Most of the time, you will be so nervous or caught up in the situation, you will oftentimes unknowingly give the police officer evidence for building a case against you.
Drinking and driving is against the law and should be avoided at all costs. The best policy to avoid a drunk driving citation is to drive with no alcohol in your system. However, if you find yourself in a situation where you have been pulled over and you are uncertain if you are above the legal drinking limit, do yourself a favor and do not help the officer by giving them evidence.
Here are 3 things you should avoid giving the police officer after you have been pulled over with the suspicion of drunk driving.
1. Answering Questions that Will Be Used To Build a Case Against You
Most of the time, when a police officer pulls you over late at night, they will ask you a series of seemingly innocuous preliminary questions such as:Where are you coming from?... Have you had anything to drink tonight?... How much did you
have to drink tonight?... When did you start drinking?... When did you stop drinking?
First off, it is imperative that you are polite and courteous. Period. Giving a police officer attitude or being disrespectful will do nothing for you. It will most likely make matters worse so be friendly and respectful.
Only after you are asked by the police officer then you should provide your license, proof of insurance and registration. You are only required to present your license, your proof of insurance, and your car’s registration card at any time when a police officer requests you to do so and you are not obligated to answer any of their following questions.
When an officer asks you any of those questions above, you can politely and respectfully decline. Again, always be kind and courteous. A simple statement like this would suffice: “Due respect, officer, but I do not wish and am not required to answer any questions. Am I free to go?”
If you were to answer any of those questions, the police will be recording all your answers and anything you say can and will be used against you in your police case. The police report will contain all the information you gave to the officer so it is best that you minimize that information by using your right to remain silent.
2. Refuse the Roadside Field Sobriety Tests
Most of the time, if the officer has a suspicion that you were drinking and driving, they will ask you to step out of your car.
Comply with the officer's request. The officer will then instruct you to do a series of roadside field sobriety tests.
Most individuals do not know that these roadside tests are completely voluntary.
Let me spell it out for you. An officer is asking you to do tests to find evidence for your alleged crime. The last thing on earth that you want to do is give them any evidence to support your conviction. If you partake in the roadside field sobriety tests, these subjective tests will be used in the police report as evidence against your demise. Just say, “no, officer I won’t”.
Some people will think:“Oh, I feel completely fine. I will just act in accordance with the police’s orders to get this officer off of my back.”
Again, these tests are subjective and any misstep or mistake will be used as evidence for proving your guilt and conviction. Even if you feel completely fine, chances are this will probably be the first time you will ever be doing these motions and you will most likely mess up. Don’t believe me? Go take a beginners dance class or some golf courses. You will see mimicking movements after watching someone do so is a difficult task if it is your first time doing so.
If the officer continues to insist that you take the tests, tell the officer you would like to take the test, but you would like to ask your DUI lawyer
first if it is okay. You can then pretend to talk with a lawyer. Afterward, tell the police officer that your attorney told you to not take the roadside field sobriety test because they are voluntary as well as they are designed for a person to fail
In summary, refuse the police officers request for the roadside field sobriety test. The officer cannot use your results on the field sobriety tests if you refuse it. The officer will bring you into custody, but you would have probably been arrested anyway.
3. Decline the Roadside Breathalyzer Test
One of the last pieces of evidence you can give to the officer is the roadside breathalyzer test. It should be noted, that there is an immense difference between refusing a roadside breathalyzer test and refusing a breathalyzer test at the police station.
If you do not consent to a roadside breathalyzer test, the officer will believe that you are intoxicated and are a danger to yourself and the general public. By the implied consent laws, this will allow them to arrest you because you refused to take the tests.
This is okay. Oftentimes, these roadside breathalyzer tests are susceptible to errors
and should be avoided at all costs. Why put yourself in a situation where the results to an unreliable test are used to legally convict you?
When you are at the station, if you refuse the tests then, you are subject to getting your license suspended by the DMV for 6 months to a year depending on what state you are in. Although your refusal of a blood-alcohol concentration test may be seen in some states as an admission of committing the crime (that can be used against you in a trial), in all the states, if you refuse to be tested, the penalties will be far more harsher if you are convicted if you submitted the tests in the first place.
A quick tip is that when you are asked to take a blood-alcohol concentration test, ask for a blood test instead of a breathalyzer test in the station. The reasoning behind it is that blood tests take some time to analyze and receive the results. The police officer that has arrested you has to write their report and build their case with the evidence they have. Hopefully, you have provided them with no evidence such as the roadside breathalyzer test, answering their questions, or field sobriety tests.
Also, when building your defense, DUI blood tests are more prone to a variety of errors that can be disputed in court. These mistakes can produce an unreliable blood alcohol concentration result and can be fought in court.
Know Your Rights and Be Safe On the Road
Here are my tips for not giving a police officer 3 crucial pieces of evidence to convict you of an alleged DUI. Once more, the best way to avoid a drunk driving conviction is to drive completely sober! Know your rights and be safe on the road.