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DUI Dos and Don'ts: Tips To Follow When You're Pulled Over For Drunk Driving

Every year, 1.5 million people are arrested for drunk driving. But just because these cases are common doesn't mean they aren't a big deal. The damage caused by drunk driving can make for a huge financial and emotional burden for you and for your family, especially if you or another driver become seriously injured as a result. It's easy for drunk drivers who are pulled over for suspected DUIs to accidentally incriminate themselves or make matters worse by being uncooperative. These tips will help you stay calm and informed about the best practices in these situations.

If you are pulled over for drunk driving, do...

  • Be cooperative with your license, registration, and identifying info
    You should always keep your license, registration, and insurance card in a readily accessible place. If you are pulled over, the police officer will ask for these documents first, so have them out and ready to give them. This will give the officer less time to observe you, which means you won't be as likely to exhibit signs of intoxication. They will also ask you questions regarding identifying information, which you should answer concisely.
  • Exercise your right to remain silent
    You should be polite in your interactions, but you should not volunteer any information you don't absolutely need to give. You may be inclined to try and talk your way out of the situation or defend your actions, but go against your instincts in this case. Even if you are completely innocent, you should decline to answer questions about how much you've had to drink, where you've been, where you may be headed, or other seemingly innocuous queries. These questions are designed to trap you; it's best not to say anything at all. It may feel wrong to you, but it's important that you remain silent.
  • Speak with an attorney
    If an officer pesters you to answer questions you know you aren't legally obligated to, inform them that you won't be answering them without an attorney present. Should you be arrested for a DUI, ask to speak to an attorney right away. You should not answer any questions without your lawyer there. The police are required to grant you access to an attorney in private. Do not fall for any tricks they may try about waiving your right to counsel.

If you are pulled over for drunk driving, don't...

  • Argue with the police
    While you are not obligated to answer their questions, you should not be combative with any law enforcement personnel you encounter. If and when you are placed under arrest, do not resist. Be cooperative and quiet. Do not make the situation worse or give them any reason to escalate your charges or their response.
  • Submit to any field tests
    Contrary to popular belief, you are not required to take breathalyzer tests or any other sobriety tests. While some states do consider not taking these tests a violation (which may impact your driver's license), it's still better to decline these roadside tests. They will be only used against you in court, and if you take them, there's virtually no way an officer will allow you to go on your way. If they do not have this evidence against you, they will not have definitive proof of your intoxication.
  • Consent to a search before being arrested
    Unless you are placed under arrest, you do not have to let an officer search your person, your vehicle, or your personal belongings. You can, and should, exercise your right to refuse a search if you are not under arrest. However, if you are arrested, you do have to consent to a search.

Of course, no one should ever drink and drive. But when mistakes are made, you need to know what to do in case you're pulled over. While you may not always have control over what happens when you drive drunk, by following these tips, and by hiring experienced Ft Worth lawyers, you may be able to make a bad situation a little bit better. If you or someone you know has been arrested for drunk driving, call an attorney right away.

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