Picture this scenario. It is the weekend and all of your friends are heading out to the bar. You are not planning on staying out very long, so you decide to drive yourself instead of catching a ride. The evening turns out to be more exciting than you initially expected, and you end up staying out pretty late. You had a few more drinks than you expected, but you are still confident in your ability to drive home.
All of a sudden you notice police lights in your rearview mirror. You are well aware of how receiving a DUI could negatively impact your life. This makes you very nervous because you do not have any experience handling this type of situation. Having a good understanding of your rights can ultimately be the difference between breathing a sigh of relief and spending the night in jail.
Remain calm and respect the officer
The first thing that you need to do after pulling over to the side of the road is calm your nerves. This can be a very stressful situation, but it is important to take a moment to collect yourself. The officer is watching for any signs of intoxication and your nervousness can give off the wrong impression.
You also want to make sure that you treat the officer with respect. Keep in mind that he or she is simply doing their job and trying to make sure that the road is safe. If you are rude or confrontational, the officer is much more likely to arrest you. A calm, respectful approach is much more likely to end in the result that you are hoping for.
Be smart when answering questions
Police officers can seemingly smell fear and they do not have any issue using this against you. Keep in mind that when the officer pulls you over on suspicion of a DUI, he or she is searching for probable cause. The officer may ask you a variety of different questions designed to gather more facts about your evening. You may answer these questions, but do not volunteer any incriminating information.
If you are fearful of saying something that may hurt your case, it may be better to avoid answering the question or remain silent. This may, however, make the officer more suspicious.
Do not participate in field sobriety testing
If your conversation with the officer leads to suspicion, he or she may request that you take a field sobriety test. The officer may phrase the question in a way that suggests that you must agree to the test, but the truth is that you are under no legal obligation to participate. Taking a field sobriety test can provide the officer with evidence of your intoxication and make your case considerably more difficult.
If you have had a few drinks, the best option may be to politely decline the request. Understand that this often will make the officer suspicious and ultimately lead to an arrest, but this is a better alternative than providing the police with more information to build a stronger case against you.