What Do You Do if You Get Pulled Over For a DUI?
You’re on your way home to Colorado Springs one night from a party with some friends. Suddenly, you hear those dreaded sirens and see flashing red lights behind you. Your heart begins to race. Even if you only had one glass of wine, it could be enough to impair you over Colorado law’s BAC (blood alcohol count) limit of 0.08%.
So, what should you do if you get pulled over and know that you may be charged with a DUI? Liberty Law Center will give you some tips on how to conduct yourself when you have been pulled over by a cop. This can help you and your DUI attorney navigate the situation even if you end up getting arrested for a DUI.
What Should You Do if You Get Pulled Over For a DUI?
- Be safe, cautious, and slow.
Use caution as you get off the road. Try to pull into a well-lit area, keep your hands on the wheel, and stay in the car. Do not shuffle around for things in the glove compartment as the officer approaches the vehicle. The calmer you can be, the more you can help the police officer understand that you are in control and are trying to be helpful. When the officer asks for credentials, provide them and let them know where you are getting them from (“Let me reach into the glove compartment for my insurance, officer”).
- Don’t talk or give away any vital information.
No matter how much a police officer might try to get you to talk, do not give any information away unless it is absolutely necessary. You have the right to remain silent according to the Fifth Amendment, and no police officer is allowed to bully you into giving away information. Don’t discuss where you were, who you were with, what you were doing, or how many drinks you had (“I only had one glass of wine!”)—as any details you provide may be used against you in court. Most police officers will try to make small talk or ask you blatant questions about yourself that you don’t have to answer. Know your rights and be firm about your choice to remain silent except for vital information (name, address, license, etc).
- But be as polite and nonaggressive as possible.
Don’t be rude, smug, or confrontational about your rights. An officer might get aggressive or even become demanding, which can make it tempting to start something and react with your own anger or annoyance. Remember, anything you say and how you behave will be noted by the officer for use against you in court. If you lose control, it will be used as a way to prove that you were intoxicated and didn’t have emotional regulation. Just politely say, “I have nothing to say, officer,” as many times as you need to. You must provide basics like your license, name, and address, but you DO NOT have to say anything else.
- Decline the field sobriety test.
You have the right to decline a field sobriety test. Under Colorado law, a field sobriety test is perfectly voluntary, even if an officer tries to pressure you into taking one or threatens that your license will be suspended. Don’t be intimidated by threats; field sobriety tests are notoriously bad at determining sobriety. However, you are required by law to take a chemical sobriety test if you are asked to do so. You can politely clarify to the officer that you will decline a field sobriety test, but you are happy to take a chemical sobriety test when it’s required.
- You must be willing to take a chemical sobriety test.
A chemical sobriety test, on the other hand, is legally required once you’ve been arrested. Get that distinction—you have to be officially arrested before a chemical test can’t be declined.Like many other states, Colorado has an “express consent” law—which means that simply by getting behind the wheel and driving in Colorado, you cannot refuse to take a chemical sobriety test. If you do so, the penalties and consequences could be much larger. So, do not get yourself into more trouble by fighting a chemical sobriety test once you’re arrested. Know that many BAC tests can be challenged later in court, as there are many factors to take into consideration with BAC levels.
- Call a lawyer.
If you end up getting arrested- which may have happened even if the officer leaves you with a ticket and lets you go home with a sober driver- you should call a dui lawyer immediately to discuss the arrest. You have every right to call a lawyer and have legal representation before going to court. A knowledgeable and aggressive criminal defense attorney will be able to help you navigate exactly what do to help you avoid the strongest penalties that are associated with a DUI.
Contact Liberty Law Center today with any DUI-related questions or other legal issues! We are here to help.