What should I do if I have been pulled over for suspected drunk driving?
You suddenly spot flashing blue lights behind you. In a moment of panic, you realize you are being pulled over. Maybe you were coming from an event, friend’s house, or a bar. If you have had anything to drink before being stopped, you may be at risk of being arrested for a DUI. Your actions in the aftermath of the initial stop could have a significant impact on whether your night ends in bed or in handcuffs. Our Atlanta DUI defense lawyers discuss the steps you should take following being pulled over below.
Comply With the Stop
If you have been signaled by an officer to pull over, you must comply. Failure to stop will result in additional criminal penalties. Remember that the officer will be closely watching how you stop and any evidence of intoxication will become a part of the police report. Pull over carefully to the nearest safe place and prepare to provide the officer with your license and registration.
Be Polite and Provide the Requested Documents
When approached by the officer, it is best to act polite and comply with the officer’s requests for your name, license, and registration. Do not make sudden movements and never initiate any conversations about alcohol. If you are asked to step out of your vehicle, you will need to comply.
Know Your Legal Rights
You do need to provide the officer with basic information like your name, license, registration, and insurance, but you are under no obligation to answer additional questions. The officer will likely ask you questions about your alcohol consumption. Do not incriminate yourself. You can state that you do not wish to answer questions at this time or a like phrase.
Further, you have the right to refuse field sobriety tests. Field sobriety tests are often an effective tool used by police officers to collect evidence against you. Not all field sobriety tests are accurate, and you risk arrest if you fail a test. You also have the legal right to refuse a breathalyzer test on the scene, although you could face suspension of your license. Contact a DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible after your arrest for individualized legal advice.