When stopped by an officer while driving after consuming alcohol you should be respectful to the officer and identify yourself by providing your driver’s license, proof of registration, and car insurance.
If you have any difficulty understanding the English language, especially complicated English such as legal terms, request for an interpreter in your first language as soon as possible. The officer will provide an interpreter by phone if requested. You should not attempt to understand the officer’s instructions if there is any language barrier. This is not the time or environment for you to be shy or embarrassed about not understanding English fluently.
The officer will eventually ask you questions related to alcohol. I would recommend declining to answer any questions related to alcohol. The officer will likely order you out of your vehicle so he or she can conduct a DUI investigation. The officer will ask you to perform field sobriety tests and/or to submit to a DUI portable breath test. You should not take any field sobriety test and/or portable breath test, they are voluntary, meaning there is no requirement by law for you to perform either test. If you decline to take any of the tests the officer will make a decision to either release or arrest based on the officer’s observations up to that point. The primary reason I advise people to decline taking the field sobriety tests is the fact that the tests are physically difficult and they become even more difficult when you are accompanied by un-ideal circumstances such as; uneven roadways, lack of adequate light, other vehicles driving by, and loud traffic noises making it difficult to hear and concentrate. The tests are difficult, respectfully decline taking them.
After an arrest for DUI, a person will be taken to the police station. There they will be presented with at least two forms, the Constitutional Rights Form and the Implied Consent Warning form. These two forms are very important because they explain your rights and consequences of exercising your rights. If you have any questions about the forms, do not hesitate to ask the officer to clarify the information so you will have a full understanding.
The Constitutional Rights form will advise a person of their right to have an attorney. I recommend you always ask for an attorney whenever confronted with a criminal investigation. It does not matter if you do not know a criminal defense attorney to call. The officer will contact a defense attorney by phone at no cost to you. You will be provided a private room to talk to the attorney and ask questions. Again, if you have any difficulty understanding English you should request to have an interpreter made available to you.
The request to submit to a breath test at the police station is very different and separate from the request to submit to a portable breath test out on the field. The DUI portable breath test is voluntary and there is no negative consequence from declining to take it. However, if a person declines to take the breath test at the police station it will likely result in a revocation of your driver’s license for at least one year. The decision to take the breath test at the station is dependent upon many factors, consult your DUI defense lawyer for their recommendation. I Generally recommend, if it is a person’s first DUI arrest and the person did not consume a lot of alcohol then they should take the breath test. However, if a person has prior DUI arrests and/or consumed a lot of alcohol then they should not take the station breath test.
- Be respectful to law enforment.
- Ask law enforcement for an interpreter if there is any language barrier.
- Do not take the field sobriety tests or the portable breath tests, they are voluntary.
- If you have questions about legal forms, always ask the officer to clarify until you have a full understanding.
- Request to speak to a criminal defense lawyer.
- Ask your defense attorney for their recommendations.
If you don’t have a DUI criminal defense attorney’s number programmed into your cell phone, you should do so now, David O 206-459-6392, you never know when you might need it! I am here to help.