It’s the kind of thing that you don’t know that you need, until you need to know it. You’ve had a couple drinks but you feel pretty in control of yourself, so you get behind the wheel. Maybe you didn’t even make a big driving mistake. Perhaps you just made a wide turn (that you would have made anyways if you were sober as a priest). Nonetheless, you suddenly see red and blue lights flashing behind you, and swear words are going through your head. What now?
Do you know what to do if you ever needed a DUI defense attorney? The problem is, but the time you reach out to a DUI defense attorney, many of the factors that could have made your case particularly better are over and your DUI defense attorney can only do the best they can with what they have. To help you out, here’s a list of things that your DUI defense attorney wishes you knew:
Four Things Your DUI Defense Attorney Wishes You Knew.
Even if you feel like the situation is ridiculous, always be respectful and non-confrontational to the police officers. Cops have to work within the parameters of the law, but there is a lot of leeway for them to make a judgement call on. Behind the blue and badge, a police officer is a human. Human nature makes them respond in kind if you are aggressive with them. When you treat the police officer disrespectfully and make their job hard, the chances of you ending up in the back seat of the cop car, in cuffs are great. Not to mention, being loud and argumentative gives the cop probable cause that you are inebriated, even if there isn’t much other evidence. You should know your rights, and make sure they are upheld, but while being respectful. Respond to any questions you are asked with a “sir” or “ma’am.” The cop is not going to be intimidated into going easier on you, but they might be more willing to work with you if you are respectful.
Use Your Right to Remain Silent. In order to have the right to be behind the wheel, you have to give the cop three pieces of information: Your driver’s license, your vehicle’s registration, and your proof of insurance. You do not have to give the cops any other information; you definitely don’t need to say anything that will incriminate yourself. This might be your first time ever being pulled over for a potential DUI, but cops have had decades and millions of such traffic stops to fine-tune their approach and get you to put yourself behind bars, doing their job for them. Anything they ask you is for the purpose of building a case against you. If you do have alcohol in your system, you should respectfully inform the police officers that your attorney has advised you not to answer questions. As the Miranda rights go, anything you say can and will be used against you. Do not volunteer any information other than your license, registration, and insurance. However, if you have had nothing to drink other than a Red Bull and some water that day, you might be able to answer questions like where you’re coming from and if you’ve been drinking, just to get back on your merry way a little faster.
Always Store Your Registration and Insurance in an Easily Accessible Place. The visor above your seat is a great spot to store these documents, so you can easily reach up and grab them when you are asked to provide them. If you don’t know where your documents are and have to search around for them, this can misconstrued as an attempt to conceal something that you should not have in your car. If the police officer notes this in his report, it can be used against you in court. And all because your car is disorganized, which isn’t a crime.
Decline a Field Sobriety Test. If the officer asks you to walk a line or to recite the alphabet backwards, politely decline it. These tests are not required, unreliable, and will only make the job harder for your criminal defense lawyer.