American adults have the right to drink responsibly as long as they don't cross the line into disturbing or dangerous behavior, such as driving drunk. Citizens blur the line between drinking responsibly and criminal behavior when they get behind the wheel with a high blood alcohol content (BAC). When you get pulled over after a couple of drinks, your handling of the interaction can have a direct impact on the outcome. Avoid these 5 common mistakes people make when pulled over for a DUI.
1. Making Incriminating Statements
Do not incriminate yourself by admitting to drinking unless it's undeniable. When you admit to drinking before getting behind the wheel (even if you say you only had "one or two"), you give the cop probable cause. When a cop has probable cause, they may be able to search your vehicle or give you a breathalyzer. Never admit guilt unless you have no other recourse.
2. Getting Combative
Never argue with the arresting officers. Greet the officers politely and hand over your license and registration without protest. Be courteous yet brief and vague when answering questions during your initial conversation. If you provide too much detail, you risk incriminating yourself or contradicting yourself during your defense.
3. Taking a Field Sobriety Test
Many citizens assume that they need to adhere to field sobriety tests, but field sobriety tests are voluntary, no matter how much the cop implies you must comply. Politely decline the field sobriety test.
If you opt to take the field sobriety test, the video of the test can be used against you in court. However, there are numerous reasons a sober person may fail a field sobriety test, such as poor balance, physical injury, or cognitive processing issues.
4. Failing to Blow
There are extreme penalties for citizens arrested on suspicion of DUI who don't blow. In many cases, these penalties are worse than a typical DUI. Drivers who blow slightly over the BAC can use this as grounds for lenient sentencing. In some cases, a lawyer can argue that the reading was off, due to a mistake when the test was administered or an outside source impacting the results.
The only time you may want to deny the breathalyzer test is if the results will be recklessly high. In most states where a DUI is a misdemeanor, a BAC of 2.0 upgrades the case to a felony DUI charge, significantly increasing the legal ramifications.
5. Not Immediately Contacting a Lawyer
You have the right to legal counsel. For more information, contact a DUI defense lawyer near you.Share