Seeing blue lights flashing behind you can make any driver feel nervous, and if you’ve had a few drinks, even more so. However, if this happens to you, it’s important to stay calm regardless of whether you have been drinking or not. This blog will talk you through everything you need to know and do if you’re pulled over on suspicion of a DUI – because how you handle it initially can have a significant impact on your defense case in court.
Being pulled over puts you in a tough position as it’s bound to make you nervous, but the more you let this get to you, the more likely you are to seem as though you are under the influence. Take a deep breath and try to stay polite and friendly even if you don’t feel like being so.
Don’t get defensive
Getting defensive or angry at this stage won’t help anyone. If you start talking too much and oversharing, it will only compound police suspicions of DUI. It’s fine to answer questions asked by the police but do so calmly and rationally. You’ll probably be asked your name, date of birth, and other essential information, as well as for your license and insurance documents; but you don’t need to volunteer anything else unless necessary. When the officer asks you questions, he or she is trying to get you talking so they can smell your breath, check for slow or slurred speech, and look for other signs of alcohol consumption. Remember, you don’t have to answer any questions, especially if the answers might incriminate you!
Decide whether you are going to agree to a field sobriety test
In suspected DUI cases, a police officer will likely ask you to perform field sobriety tests. Usually, they ask something like, “Would you be willing to take a couple of tests just to make sure you are okay to drive?” As innocuous as this may sound, remember that the officer is looking for probable cause to arrest you. Most DUI clients start off telling me about their case with the declaration, “I passed all the tests.” But these tests are highly subjective and designed to give the officer probable cause to arrest you. Remember, no matter how much pressure the officer puts on you, these tests are strictly voluntary.
Part of the field tests may involve a “portable breath test.” This is a handheld breath test the officer carries in the patrol car. These devices are not accurate at all. In fact, they are so unreliable, the numerical results cannot be used in court. But they CAN be used to arrest you. You do not have to consent to take these tests.
Decide whether you are going to agree to a chemical test
If you are arrested, the officer will tell you that Georgia law requires you to submit to a state-administered test of your blood, breath, or urine upon request. This is FALSE. You can also decline this test. But keep in mind that declining the test may result in the officer confiscating your license and issuing you a temporary 45-day permit. If you subsequently do not request a hearing to fight the pending suspension, driving privileges are automatically revoked for one year.
Do not admit guilt
In most instances, your interactions with the officers will be recorded with at least audio. So it is advisable not to admit you are guilty of a DUI to the police officers on the scene, anyone in jail or any prosecuting attorneys you may come into contact with post-arrest. If you admit that you are guilty or that you have been drinking, they can use this in court to push for a conviction.
Instead, if you are arrested and charged with a DUI, ask the police to speak to an attorney and advocate your right to remain silent until you have secured legal advice.
If you or a loved one has been arrested on suspicion of a DUI, contact the lawyers at Savannah DUI. We can help provide an aggressive defense. Get in touch today at (912) 221-4441.