What to do if pulled over for DUI
If you are pulled over for DUI, or any other traffic or criminal issue, it is very important how you respond to the police officer. Cases are often won or lost based on what happens at this crucial point.
1) Turn off your car, have it in park with the brake set, turn off your radio, and have your documents ready in your hand (on the steering wheel) when the police officer approaches your car. We often see people roll forward or backwards in their car, when asked to step out of the vehicle. We often see police reports where a person is alleged to have "fumbled" for their drivers license, registration, or insurance card. You want a police officer to feel safe approaching your car, since this is a very dangerous time for them statistically. By keeping your hands on the steering wheel and having your window down, they can easily see that you are not a threat.
2) As soon as the police officer asks a question, ask them if you are free to leave. This is a very important question, as it establishes whether or not you are in a custodial situation. If they indicate they you are free to leave, do so. Most of the time they will indicate that you are not free to leave, in which case you should inform them that you would like to speak to an attorney before answering any further questions. Because you are in a custodial situation, you are able to invoke your right to an attorney. Now make sure that you EXERCISE that right. Do not offer to take any tests, no matter what they are. Do not make any statements or answer any other questions.
The only thing you have to do is exit the vehicle if asked to do so, provide your identification/registration/insurance, and comply with a lawful arrest. By not taking any tests you are forcing the officer to either let you go, or make an arrest. If they make an arrest without probable cause to do so, we may be able to get your case dismissed in later proceedings. If you take field sobriety tests of any kind, they can and will be used against you in a court of law. Therefore, decline to do so.
3) If you are arrested you should make sure that you speak to an attorney before answering any questions at the station or blowing in any breathalyzer machine. Our office takes phone calls 24 hours a day from people in these situations. If you do not know an attorney to call, at the very least, ask for a public defender. There is generally an on-call public defender available 24 hours a day in most jurisdictions.
4) You should immediately seek the advice of a qualified DUI defense attorney. See: choosing a DUI lawyer.
DUI or DWI: The Big Questions
Our DUI Defense Attorneys give our clients clear information about felony and misdemeanor DUI charges, including answers to the most common questions:
Each DUI arrest defense case is unique. Depending on the facts surrounding your traffic stop, blood tests, or breath alcohol testing for BAC, and other factors, our lawyers may be able to get a not-guilty verdict, reduced charges, or a reduced sentence. We will give you a realistic, practical assessment of your situation, and explain what we can do for you.
Our criminal defense experience is your advantage when you need to know what to do if pulled over for DUI
When you are facing serious criminal charges we can help. Call us at (253) 867-2675 to schedule a free initial consultation. Our criminal defense attorneys are standing by.