What Happens When You Get Pulled Over for Drunk Driving
by, 01-13-2013 at 09:16 PM (808 Views)
Driving under the influence of alcohol is one of those things most people in their right state of mind recognize as wrong and dangerous. However, the same people often get pulled over by the police and end up with a DUI charge just because they fell into temptation of thinking they were sober enough to avoid the uncomfortable scenario of leaving the car at the parking and taking a cab home. The truth is - getting arrested is both more uncomfortable and more expensive than hiring someone to take you home (even if you hire a limo, youíll be better off than if you end up paying a fine).
To drink and drive is stupid. Letís get that out of the way. Thereís no excuse for putting yourself and other people in danger. Still, to err is human, so to help you with a potential incident, here is what happens in case you are pulled over by a police patrol, with a couple of pieces of advice on what you should do in order to minimize the damage.
First, the patrol car or an officer on the side of the road will give you a clear sign to stop your vehicle. Try to find a convenient spot to pull over and stop your car. Once you stop, do not be unpleasant or belligerent. No one likes rude people, and police officers on duty are among those who like them least. Be polite, mind your manners and treat the officers with due respect.
The officers will then proceed to identify you and you are required to provide them with your license and the registration. Obey the commands the officers give you and answer the questions they ask as long as their purpose is to identify you. The questions might also go in the direction of finding out if you have been drinking, in which case you can plead the 5th amendment and refuse to answer them. This cannot be taken against you in the court of law.
If the officer has any reason to believe that you have been driving under the influence of alcohol, they will ask you to take the field sobriety test. This test is, contrary to the popular belief, voluntary and you can also refuse to take it. In case you have bad coordination even when sober, you should politely refuse it. However, if you think you would be able to perform well, consider taking it because the refusal can and will be taken against you in the court.
After the field sobriety test is performed (or skipped), the officer will try to administer the breath test. This is a preliminary test (the real one will be performed in the police station later) so you can refuse to take it as well, but you risk to have your license suspended. If you decide to refuse it, try to point out that you are aware of its preliminary nature and express willingness to submit to the real test at the precinct.
At the station, you will be offered (or at least you should be offered) the choice of taking the breath or the blood test. There is no good advice on which one you should take. Just keep on being respectful and obeying and do what the test administering staff tells you to do. With a little luck, the test might show less than 0.08% of alcohol in your blood which would mean you are free to go. In any case, remember not to repeat the same mistake and - donít drink and drive.
Olivia Still is a blogger and human rights activist from New Jersey. She is proactive in her struggle for justice and has attracted a number of law firms as allies in the process, Lex Americana being one of them.