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What You Do ~ When Stopped for DUI

What You Do ~ When Stopped for DUI

when stopped for DUIHave you ever been pulled over by law enforcement or been questioned by a police officer?  For some of us, it can be very intimidating and gut wrenching, we may forget the simplest things and our thoughts may become jumbled.  And just imagine being pulled over knowing you may have consumed some alcohol before getting behind the wheel, talk about stressful!  Here is what you do when stopped for DUI… and I’m going to keep it simple and straight forward so you can remember.

  1. Respect
  2. Ask
  3. No Talking
  4. No DUI Tests

Four things to remember; 1. Respect, 2. Ask, 3. No Talking, and 4. No DUI Tests.  Not too difficult to remember and if you follow these tips you will have a much better chance resolving your DUI case favorably or getting your DUI charge dismissed.

Let’s expand on what you do when stopped for DUI

  1. Respect – Show respect to the law enforcement officer.  Being respectful and polite will make the investigation go much quicker and smoother.  On the flip side, if you are disrespectful and uncooperative to the officer, the situation will only get worse and you may even rack up additional criminal charges such as; obstruction of justice.  Be respectful.
  2. Ask – Immediately ask the law enforcement officer to call your DUI attorney, it is your legal right.  If you do not have a DUI attorney, ask the officer to call a public defender.  Once you are on the phone with a DUI attorney, that attorney will be able to give you proper instruction and advice on what to do next.  Also, if English is not your first language and you are having difficulty understanding what the law enforcement officer is saying, ask for an interpreter.  To recap, immediately ask for a DUI attorney and ask for an interpreter if needed.
  3. No Talking – Do not try to talk your way out of the DUI investigation, it never works!  In fact, talking most often leads to self-incrimination.  For example if the officer asks if you had anything to drink that evening, most will often answer with saying they had something; one drink, two beers, one glass of wine, etc. and now they have admitted to the officer they did drink before driving, this does not help a DUI case.  If that person respectfully declined to answer that question than they would be in a much better situation for their DUI case because they never admitted to drinking alcohol.  Keep talking to the very minimum, only state your name, ask for your attorney and interpreter, and respectfully decline all other questions.  It is your legal right to remain silent, you will not get in trouble for not answering the officer’s questions.
  4. No DUI Tests – Do not take the DUI field sobriety tests or blow into the portable breathalyzer.  Both of these tests are voluntary, and you should respectfully decline taking these tests.  The DUI field sobriety tests are very difficult and a completely sober person would have trouble passing these tests.  Any mistake made while taking the field sobriety tests will be used against you and will make your DUI case more challenging.  Blowing into the portable breathalyzer can be incriminating evidence used against you.  Don’t take the DUI tests.

When stopped for DUI and your starting to feel anxious, just remember; Respect, Ask, No Talking, & No DUI Tests.  Give me a call if you need a reputable DUI attorney, David O, 206-459-6392.


When Stopped for DUI – Advice from a DUI Criminal Defense Attorney

When Stopped for DUI – Advice from a DUI Criminal Defense Attorney

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.

In short:

  1. Be respectful to law enforment.
  2. Ask law enforcement for an interpreter if there is any language barrier.
  3. Do not take the field sobriety tests or the portable breath tests, they are voluntary.
  4. If you have questions about legal forms, always ask the officer to clarify until you have a full understanding.
  5. Request to speak to a criminal defense lawyer.
  6. 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.