Getting pulled over by the police can be an inconvenience, at the very least. At worst, it can leave you feeling frightened and unsure—especially if you’ve been drinking and have reason to believe you’ll be charged with a DUI. Any DUI charge is inherently serious, but there are some rights you should remember, and some tips to make the traffic stop go as smoothly as possible.
We’ll share some guidelines in this post, but remember: If you are charged with DUI, you’ll need an attorney who can help champion your rights. Davis-Jones Law is an Austin firm with ample experience working DUI cases, and we’re here when you need us!
Here’s what we recommend for anyone who’s pulled over for drunk driving.
First, put on your turn signal and slowly pull over to the side of the road. Remember that you have the right to safety, and if you’re not at a place where you can pull over, signal to the police that you see them and wait until you find a good location.
Wait in your car for the officer to approach you. Leave your hands on the wheel. Don’t try to get out of the vehicle or rummage through your glove compartment for paperwork.
Roll down your window to talk to the officer. Be courteous; antagonistic behavior will only make things worse for you. Cooperate with the officer however you can.
When asked for your documents, produce them. Remember that the police will be watching to see how calmly and ably you can produce these documents, so try to be as smooth and controlled as possible.
Also take note of your Fifth Amendment right against incriminating yourself. If the officer asks if you have been drinking or if you are drunk, let them know you are invoking this right. You are not legally obligated to answer questions about where you have been, who you were with, or whether you have had any alcohol.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that a little candor will get you off; most people who are pulled over tell the police that they have “had one or two drinks” or something to this effect, so it’s really not an especially helpful thing to say.
If the police ask you to take a chemical test, it’s usually best to do so. You can refuse, but then will be taken to the precinct where you’ll ultimately have to take a test later. If you are asked to take a field test, however—something like walking in a straight line—you can say no. These tests are really not designed to help you, and even perfectly sober people can fail them. You have every right to politely decline them.
Only get out of the vehicle if you are expressly asked to do so. Try not to stumble or trip on your way out; doing so will only make your case look worse!
If you ultimately are charged with DUI, it’s vitally important to hire a local attorney who has experience representing such cases.
DUI arrests are nothing to take lightly. With that said, the right attorney can help you to ensure your rights are upheld, and also to minimize the fallout. At Davis-Jones Law, we have years of experience working DUI cases in and around Austin. To speak with us about your legal needs, contact our team of attorneys at any time.