Pulled Over for a DUI? Here’s What to Expect

If you’re driving and see the blue and red lights flashing in the rear view mirror, it can be a very frightening experience. This is compounded if you have been drinking, or even if the officer just suspects that you have. Whether you were drinking or not, knowing what to expect when pulled over on suspicion of a DUI is key so you can get the best result possible. Your actions at this time will not only determine whether you are arrested, but can also have a big impact on your defense case should it become necessary.

Stay Calm

While you will undoubtedly be nervous when pulled over, try to stay calm. If you are overly nervous or even combative, the officer can use this as an indication that you have been drinking. Additionally, if the officer feels that you are threatening, they can arrest you on that alone. Take a few deep breaths and stay calm no matter what happens.

Don’t Overshare

Many people feel the need to try to defend themselves to the officers and will become overly chatty. Whether you’re pulled over on suspicion of a DUI or any other reason, talking too much to the police will never help your case. Answer the legitimate questions posed by the officer, but never volunteer any information that isn’t required. Provide the officer with your name, date of birth, and things like that, but that is all. Of course, you will also need to provide the officer with your driver’s license and proof of insurance.

You Don’t Have to Perform a Field Sobriety Test

The police will often ask you to perform a field sobriety test if they think that you’ve been drinking. These are the tests where the officer has you walk along a line, touch your nose, stand on one leg, or something similar. In the state of Alabama’s implied consent laws, you are permitted to refuse to perform these tests without any penalty. If you are very confident that you can perform them successfully, however, you can comply to show that you aren’t drunk.

Taking a Chemical Test

If you refuse to perform a field sobriety test, or the officer still feels that you are intoxicated, they will likely ask you to take a chemical test. While you have the right to refuse this test, your license will be automatically suspended for 90 days on the first offense (one year for second and third) if you refuse. It is typically better to comply and then if the test shows that you were above the legal limit, fight the charges aggressively.

Do Not Admit Guilty

The police officers on the scene and in the jail, as well as any prosecuting attorneys you see after an arrest, will undoubtedly try to get you to admit that you are guilty. If you do, they will use that in court when seeking a conviction. Never say that you are guilty, or that you’ve been drinking, no matter what they say. If you are arrested and charged with a DUI, the only thing you should say to the police is that you want to speak with an attorney. Contact us if you or a loved one has been arrested on suspicion of a DUI so we can offer assistance right away.

Written by John M. Totten

John M. Totten

John's office is in Athens, Alabama, where he has helped thousands of people in North Alabama with everything from family law issues, to catastrophic injury and death cases, to criminal defense.