Seeing flashing lights in your rear view mirror can make you panic. You may be nervous and unsure of how to handle the situation. But if you are pulled over and the police officer suspects you’ve been drinking or taking drugs, avoid putting yourself in even more jeopardy by following these steps.
1. Find a Safe Place to Pull Over
If you see flashing lights behind you, stay calm. Look for a safe place to pull over. When an officer decides to initiate a stop, they will immediately begin observing your vehicle for signs that you are intoxicated. In fact, the officer likely has already noticed something that makes them think you may be driving impaired. You cannot do anything about the reasons the officer already has in mind. But you can minimize any additional evidence the officer may collect.
Remain calm and drive slowly. If you are driving erratically or slow down abruptly, the officer will make note of that on their report. It will be more evidence that you are intoxicated or otherwise impaired. Your primary concern should be to find a safe place and stop your car.
2. Avoid Sudden or Suspicious Movements
As the police officer approaches your vehicle, they will be cautious and ready to protect themselves. If you twist around to watch the officer or act strangely, the officer may think you are up to something. Instead, keep your hands on the wheel and sit up straight. Do not slouch down or try to move seats in the car. Remain calm and do not move in your seat.
3. Be Polite
When trying to determine what to do when pulled over, you should consider your demeanor. Remain polite, and comply with the officer’s requests, unless they violate your rights. The more respectful you are, the less likely you are to be arrested. The police officer will record your behavior on their report and a judge will consider it evidence.
You should be friendly to the officer. However, you do not have to agree to a search of your vehicle or your person. If the officer asks to search you or your vehicle, they likely do not have enough reason to validate a search. You can refuse politely and remain calm.
4. Do Not Answer Potentially Incriminating Questions
When deciding what to do when pulled over, remember that you do not have to answer all of the questions that the officer asks you. You must identify yourself; however, you do not have to answer questions about your whereabouts and what you’ve been doing. Instead, politely refuse to answer questions and ask if you’re being arrested. If you are not being arrested, ask if you are free to go. If you are being arrested, ask for an attorney.
5. Do Not Take a Field Sobriety Test
The officer may ask you to take a field sobriety test. SFSTs, such as a horizontal gaze nystagmus test, one-leg stand test, or walk and turn test, may be used to determine if you are intoxicated. However, they are very unreliable, and you can politely refuse to take them. Refusing a field sobriety test could result in a license suspension. But it prevents the police officer from collecting subjective evidence about whether or not you are intoxicated.
6. Refuse a Hand-Held Breathalyzer
The officer may also ask you to blow in a roadside breathalyzer test. Like field sobriety tests, roadside breathalyzers are notoriously inaccurate. You may have eaten something or taken medication that throws off the results. Many medical conditions can also create false positives. You should almost always refuse a roadside breathalyzer to prevent the officer from collecting additional information that may be inaccurate.
If you refuse a breathalyzer, you may be subject to an automatic driver’s license suspension. This suspension is an administrative penalty that would be in addition to criminal penalties for a DUI conviction. However, a DUI lawyer can help you fight your administrative license suspension.
7. Take the Chemical Test at the Police Station
If you are arrested, you will likely be asked to submit to a chemical test at the police station. At this point, the police officers already have enough evidence to arrest you for DUI. The blood or breath test at the police station will likely be conducted with a warrant, so you must submit to it.
8. Write Down Everything and Call an Attorney
Once you are released, write down everything that happened during the arrest. Then, call a DUI attorney who can help you protect yourself against DUI charges. An attorney can review the facts of the arrest and build a defense you can use to fight the charges against you.
Contact Samuel Louis Sachs Esq LLC Today
Reviewing these steps can help you remember what to do when pulled over. To learn more, contact Samuel Louis Sachs Esq LLC today.