As we have seen many times throughout our years of practice and positive results here at Naegle & Crider Criminal Defense Attorneys, sometimes people who are completely sober can get arrested for driving under the influence (DUI). In rare cases, the highway patrol officer was just looking for a free arrest and conviction. But in many more circumstances, the person pulled over simply said or did the wrong thing that led the officer to believe they were intoxicated.
In order to avoid any unnecessary trouble, and hopefully any undue convictions, it helps to know how to behave during a DUI traffic stop before you are ever actually stopped. Take a look at these hints and helpful information:
- Pull over: This should go without saying but pull over once the flashing lights of a police officer appear in your rear view mirror. Stop where it is safe and try to remove your car from the shoulder as much as possible so the officer doesn’t need to stand in the street to talk to you through your window. They will appreciate it.
- Courtesy: The fastest way to get into a conflict with the police is to show them disrespect. Be kind and courteous, and try to remember that the officer is simply doing his or her job.
- Silence: There are only a few things you should be willing to tell a police officer who is looking for an excuse to arrest you: name, address, phone number, etc. Anything that they can get with a quick search and that is not incriminating should be willingly told. Anything else? Keep it to yourself. Use your Fifth Amendment rights and state that you would like to stay quiet until you have an attorney present. Remember that anything you say and do will be used against you later.
- Field sobriety testing: A highway patrol officer may feel inclined to tell you to take a field sobriety test. If they do, you should be inclined to ask them if it is mandatory. Any option sobriety testing should be refused, as it does not put you at any immediate risk of criminal penalty and it does not provide them with any extra evidence to use against you.
- In plain sight: If an officer decides to conduct a search of your vehicle, before you get up in arms and decide it is an unlawful search and seizure, you should know about “in plain sight” laws. Essentially, if an officer can see a container of alcohol just by looking into your vehicle, they have the right to search it for evidence of a DUI. In plain sight also translates to “in plain smell” because a strong odor of alcohol on your breath can trigger an impromptu search of your car.
If you remember these five hints, the best case scenario is the officer allows you to go on your way unimpeded. In the worst case scenario, you are arrested and brought back to the station. If this happens, remember these last two crucial hints:
- Refusing a chemical test – i.e. a blood, breath, or urine test conducted at the police station – will immediately trigger an automatic license suspension that can last 1 to 2 years; you should always take a chemical test to avoid this administrative penalty.
- You get more than one phone call when you are in jail but you should still use your first one to contact an attorney; time is against you and you need to have someone on your side as soon as possible.
If you live in Arizona, the Mesa DUI attorneys from Naegle Law Firm can bring trial-tested, winning advocacy to your case. Call us at (480) 378-9000 today to learn how we can protect your after a DUI arrest. You can also schedule a FREE case evaluation with Attorney Charlie Naegle!