How to Handle a DUI Stop
4 Things to do When Stopped for a DUI
DUI checkpoints and routine stops are increasing every year. Police are indeed cracking down on drunk drivers in New York.
So, what can someone do at a DUI stop to improve the outcome of the case? The obvious first advice is to never drive after you have been drinking or using drugs. However, there are some other things you can do to improve your chances of avoiding a wrongful or unjust penalty. Here are three simple things you should keep in mind if pulled over.
This may seem obvious, but when a person is drinking or under the influence of an intoxicating substance, it can be difficult to remember basic courtesy. Hostility, aggression, avoidance, and antagonism can be viewed by a police officer as suspicious behavior. While most people see a traffic stop as adversarial in nature, the officer repeats the encounter all day long. So, for the officer, it is a routine event. If you put the officer on edge or give him or her cause for concern, you are far more likely to escalate the situation.
Do Not Volunteer Information
Perhaps now is the time to dispel the myth that somehow you can conceal being intoxicated. You can not. If you are high, drunk, or otherwise intoxicated, there is a good chance the officer will know it. There are clear signs of a DUI, like changes in your pupils, lack of balance, and odors that usually give you away. A breath mint and car spray are not going to deter the officer.
That said, you should not volunteer information. The officer will likely ask you simple questions about where you were going or where you were coming from. In many cases (coming from the bar), your answers are clearly incriminating. Likewise, the officer may ask you to perform sobriety tests. By having a driver’s license, you have given the State of New York implied consent to testing. Refusal can lead to a suspension of driving privileges. Therefore, while no one can tell you exactly what to do, you are usually best to be polite and respectful, offer to cooperate with required tasks, but explain that you are uncomfortable answering questions unless you have a lawyer present.
This relates to not volunteering information, but remember that the officer will probably take your refusal to answer questions as a sign of guilt and may threaten to place you under arrest if you do not comply. Just remember, though, the officer cannot arrest you just for not answering questions. Therefore, the state’s case against you will have to be based solely on the officer’s observations, your performance of sobriety tests, and your blood-alcohol level, as well as any other admissible evidence they discover. In short, there will be no admissions or incriminating statements that can be used to make your case worse.
It can be hard to stick to your instincts and refuse to speak, but police can be creative. Remember, you are not your sharpest when intoxicated. Do not try to outsmart or “play” the officer. Even once you ask for an DUI attorney, the law does permit the officer to make small talk unrelated to the stop. For instance, you told the officer you want to remain silent, he or she arrests you, places you in custody, and while driving asks if you caught the big game last night? Perhaps the officer asks if the cuffs are too tight or says something like ‘you look sick; you are not going to mess up my car, are you?’
These subtle remarks may seem harmless, but if you respond and embark on a conversation, you may end up volunteering information that could lead to additional evidence against you.
Hiring a Long Island DUI Lawyer
On Long Island, you can reach a DUI lawyer 24 hours a day and seven days a week at 888-DUI-Lawyer or our emergency line at 866-580-1960, for a no obligation free consultation. Even if you are arrested at 2:00 a.m., make your first call to an experienced DUI attorney who will fight to balance the scales and protect your rights. Don’t wait, call us today!