Being pulled over by a police officer can be an anxiety-ridden experience and if you know you have been drinking, it can be all the more intimidating. Do your best to think clearly and be respectful of the officer during this time. By following the tips below on what not to do at a DUI stop, you can improve your chances of walking away without any criminal charges. If you have already been arrested for DUI, be sure to call a Ventura criminal defense lawyer right away to defend your future.
Do not exit your car.
If you are stopped, turn off your engine and turn on your interior lights, placing your hands on the steering wheel. Remaining in the car where the officer can clearly see you is the best way to relive the officer of concerns that you may be a threat.
Do not appear shaken.
While it can be challenging to maintain your composure, the best way to assure an officer you have not committed a crime is by acting as innocent as you are. The more relaxed you are, the more confident the officer will be in this. Having your license, registration and other documents ready when an officer walks up to your window is also helpful.
Do not voluntarily take any sobriety tests.
You may think that you are required to take these field sobriety tests, but you are legally allowed to deny an officer's request to perform them. These tests are very subjective and often used unfairly as evidence of an individual's impairment. However, you should make sure that you refuse politely and avoid becoming confrontational.
Do not antagonize the officer.
The more polite and cooperative you are, the less aggressive the officer will likely be. Even if you are a passenger, you can be arrested for failing to comply with law enforcement during a DUI stop. While you need to maintain cordiality with the officer, remember that you don't have to submit to sobriety tests when asked.
Do not engage in conversation with the officer.
You gain nothing by divulging information to the officer who may in fact be looking for a reason to arrest you. You are within your rights to refuse to answer the officer's questions, provided you fully comply with handing them your license and registration. If you have slurred speech, stutter, or appear to be anxious, the officer may use this as evidence of your impairment.
Do not consent to a search of your car.
If the officer asks your permission to search your car, they probably have no other justification to look. You may not realize that even the smallest detail or piece of evidence can be twisted and used against you. If the officer finds nothing, this fact will in all likelihood be ignored and not used to strengthen your case.
Do not wait before calling an attorney.
If you are arrested you need to exercise your right to have an attorney. You should refrain from answering any questions from the officer aside from your name or other personal information that is required. A DUI lawyer can help you protect your rights throughout the criminal process, as well as the administrative hearing.