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What Should You Do If You Get Pulled over for Drunk Driving?

What Should You Do If You Get Pulled over for Drunk Driving?

Probably the last thing you want to see when driving home is blue lights flashing in your rear view mirror, especially if you were just at a party and had a few drinks.

You may wonder, for instance, if the officer is going to arrest you, and then you are left with picking up the pieces after a conviction for DWI, which can lead to a slew of problems like losing a job, not being able to drive, having to pay lots of fees and even the possibility of going jail for a first-time offense

These are all issues that may take the help of a DWI Defense Lawyer to resolve, but the most important and immediate thing after being pulled over is to get through the traffic stop in a way that protects your interests as much as possible.

1. Don’t panic 
The golden rule in any traffic stop is not to panic and not to assume the worst.

Even if you’ve had a drink, the officer won’t necessarily notice that. Moreover, merely having a drink isn’t per se illegal; other circumstances must exist before you are arrested for drunk driving.

However, panicking is going to cause you to move around more, make poor decisions, and even look like you have something to hide. Officers are trained to be attuned to, and suspicious of, people who are acting nervous or afraid, so it’s best to keep the emotions in check as much as possible.

On a related point, don’t take the fact an officer pulled you over personally. The vast majority of them are honest people who are simply doing their jobs.

2. Help the officer stay calm

Police don’t really like traffic stops, particularly at nighttime. Not only is it easy for them to get hit by a passing car while they are standing alongside the road, it is also easy for a driver or passenger in the car they stopped to ambush them.

Therefore, despite all of their training and experience, you should expect an officer to be a little jumpy when they approach your car.

To put the officer at ease, makes sure to get as far away from the flow of traffic as possible when you stop. You should also roll down the window and turn on your dome light if it is at nighttime.

Stay in the car with your hands where the officer can see them, perhaps on the steering wheel. It is best not to be moving around looking for or grabbing documents until the officer is at the window and asking for them.

3. Cooperate with care 
It may be hard to know exactly how cooperative you should be with the officer during the stop.

On the one hand, if you are being stopped because of suspected drunk driving, you are under a criminal investigation and, as such, have certain legal rights that you can inadvertently waive by volunteering information, agreeing to a search of your car, etc.

On the other hand, things will tend to go more smoothly for you if the officer feels that you are being as polite and as reasonable as possible.

With respect to what an officer commands you to do, you should always comply promptly. So, if the officer asks for documents, you should produce them or explain that you don’t have them. If she asks you to step out of the car, you should do so.

On the other hand, if the officer asks you to do something, it is probably because you have the right to say “no.” You should be careful in refusing, however, as there may be legal consequences to doing so. The same is true when it comes to deciding how much to say or not say about the facts of your case.

In all respects, though, you should always be firm but polite.

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