What do I do if I’m stopped by a police officer who thinks I am driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs?
Motorists often have questions regarding what they should do when pulled over by the police. Here is a brief list of your rights and obligations under the law:
Initially, you should always have your proof of insurance, vehicle registration, and driver’s license ready since you will probably be asked for these documents at some point during your encounter with law enforcement.
When talking with the officer, you should always act civilly. Remember, the police have a difficult job where they often encounter dangerous individuals. Though you may not agree with the reason you were pulled over or view yourself as a threat, the officer does not know you and acting rude or disgruntled will only make the situation worse.
Moreover, while you should generally cooperate with the officer, you do not have to take field sobriety tests. In fact, most experienced DUI lawyers advise against submitting to these tests due to their complexity and the high level of false positives. If you do not feel comfortable taking these tests, you can politely decline.
Similarly, you can also refuse to answer questions that may incriminate you. So, for instance, if you are asked if you have been drinking that night and you think that answer may be used against you in court, you can ask for a lawyer and decline answering.
Finally, you do not have to take a breath test. While your license may be suspended for a longer period of time if you do refuse, you can always challenge that suspension at a hearing. If you win the hearing, the entire suspension is cleared from your driving record.
Keep in mind that the first time you will probably be allowed to talk to an attorney will be after you are placed under arrest for DUI. However, invoking your right to remain silent and have an attorney present will usually provide you with the best chance to win your case in court.
If you have been charged with driving under the influence, the Law Office of Timothy J. Fiscella will be happy to provide you with a consultation free of charge.