You have enjoyed a night out with your friends and had a drink or two. Now that you are on the way home, red and blue lights are flashing in your rearview mirror. The police are pulling you over. Do you know what to do in order to minimize your chances of being tossed into a jail cell or subsequently convicted of driving under the influence (DUI)? If you know your rights ahead of time and remember to stay respectful, this entire scenario might play out much smoother than you expect.
Always follow these steps after a law enforcement officer indicates for you to pull over:
- Pull over: This might seem like a redundant or pointless step in the process but it is crucial to remember to pull over as soon as it is safe. The police do not want to see you circling the block looking for a spot, as it gives them the impression that you are either thinking of bolting or taking your time to hide something within your vehicle.
- Remain courteous: Highway patrol officers that pull you over are just doing their jobs and would prefer a quiet night with no incidents than one where they had to take someone into the station. Remember this at all times and give them the respect they deserve, not necessarily because they are an officer of the law but certainly because they are another human being.
- Stay quiet: One of the easiest ways to remain courteous is to do as little talking as possible. Let the officer say what they want to say, and don’t answer questions that are frivolous, leading, or possibly incriminating. Police may assume that someone who won’t be silent has a guilty conscience, so a minimal amount of talking should not be a problem.
- Cooperate within reason: If the officer wants to see your license and registration, let them know you are going to grab it and from where within the car. If the officer wants you to step outside the vehicle and turn off the ignition, do so. But don’t do anything that could be used as evidence against you, such as performing a field sobriety test.
- Call an attorney: Sometimes all the planning and good behavior in the world is not enough to convince the officer that you are not dangerously intoxicated. If you are put in cuffs, know that it is not the same as being convicted. Simply state that you would like to speak to an attorney before any questioning, and then do so at your first opportunity.
If you get arrested for a DUI in Central California, you can call (559) 257-4707 to speak to a Fresno DUI attorney from Wapner & Jones, P.C. With more than 55 years of combined legal experience, our team can come to your assistance and protect your rights like few others can.