You're out at the bar with some friends for a brief get together, you don't intend on staying long, but there are some people here you haven't seen in a while. Just one more beer couldn't hurt; after all, you know your limits better than anyone else. When it's time to go home you're left with the choice of calling a cab and getting your car in the morning, or driving home. You think you're feeling well enough to make it home. You're on your way home, and you're a little tired, but driving fine nonetheless, when out of nowhere blue and red lights start flashing behind you. You're being pulled over and you could end up with a DUI. It is never safe to drive after consuming alcohol, however, sometimes you may be landed in these circumstances, unprepared for what may happen.
Tips for a DUI Stop
- DO NOT answer any incriminating questions that the officer asks. Officers will often ask loaded questions when speaking to drivers they have pulled over. Don't fall for it! Similar to the way "Do you know how fast you were going?" can get you a speeding ticket, "Have you been drinking tonight?" or "Are you feeling the effects of alcohol?" can get you a DUI charge straightaway without even submitting to a breathalyzer. Pay close attention to the questions asked, and whether the answer could result in DUI charges. If you notice these questions, simply decline to answer respectfully and calmly.
- You don't need to perform a field sobriety test if you don't want to. The officer is not likely to inform you of this. If you refuse the field sobriety tests, be sure to cite your reason why, in case it comes up in court. A common philosophy held by most individuals is that field tests can be too arbitrary or subjective to have any significant meaning. If you don't give a reason why, the prosecution may use this to attempt to prove a guilty state of mind. Citing your reasoning behind your refusal right away to the police officer may give you an edge in court.
- Even with Washington State's implied consent laws to submit to a breathalyzer, the officer conducting the traffic stop must still inform you that you are allowed to refuse the breathalyzer test. Please bear in mind, however, that refusing can result in a license suspension, AND your refusal can be used against you in court! In general, it is best to submit to the breath test because the refusal penalties are more severe than an actual first time DUI conviction.
- This is probably the most important tip out of them all: GET A CAB. The easiest way to prevent DUI charges from happening at all is to never get behind the wheel of a vehicle after consuming alcohol. The laws exist for your own safety and the safety of others, so be courteous and don't drink and drive. If you must drive, remember that a DUI charge means you are driving over the legal limit of 0.08% blood alcohol content, not that you were driving erratically or dangerously. Even if you have a tried and true tolerance, and are driving stone sold sober, but you're over the legal limit, you can be charged AND convicted of a DUI. It is best to avoid the situation altogether and get a ride, walk, or take the bus.
If you are facing DUI charges, and you need an attorney to be on your side in court, contact Steve Karimi today.