Pulled Over; Is It a DUI, and What Do You Do?

How nervous do you get when pulled over by the police? Most DUI stops start like any other traffic infraction. The officer can’t tell whether you are impaired or not, but your erratic driving behavior could be the reason for the check. As such, before you get your defensive guard up, knowing your rights and ensuring that you are following traffic regulation helps avoid a DUI arrest. If you are arrested, contacting a DC DUI Lawyer should be prioritized, helping you protect your rights.

After you’ve been signaled, the safest way is to pull over as fast as you can to a safer area. If there is no safe spot, slow down, and put the blinker on, showing the officer your intent to stop. After stopping, keep your hands on the wheel. Officers have been attacked, even killed, on checkpoints, meaning that they are cautious. If you pull a sudden move or act suspiciously, they won’t be as comfortable while approaching. License and registration, please; that’s the typical conversation starter at a checkpoint. This is also the first point and tell-tale if you are impaired. Your reaction within the first few seconds will either tip the officer to investigate a possible DUI or not. Other considerations such as alcohol odor from your breath and watery or bloodshot eyes further tip the officer to undertake further checks.

Officers are extra vigilant about DUIs. If they believe you are driving under the influence, they’ll ask more questions. Have you been drinking? Where are you coming from and headed? Such are the typical questions. While your answers aren’t the primary checks as they don’t expect you to volunteer information that puts you at a disadvantage, your response gives them more information.

After the questions, the officer will ask you to step out of your car. Your moves also give the officer more information, such as leaning on the door for support. The officer can also ask you if you consent to SFSTs. The tests include;

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test – Eye test
  • Walk and turn test
  • One-leg stand test

You have the right to consent or refuse Standardized Field Sobriety Testing. You can also remain silent or inform the officer that you do not wish to answer the questions without your lawyer present.

You are excising your rights, but this doesn’t mean that the officer will let you go. You can still be arrested but not subjected to sobriety tests or forced to answer the question. Understanding what you are obligated to is among the easily overlooked concerns, yet it can save you from significant friction. For instance, if you choose to remain silent, your lawyer will come to your rescue, ensuring you do not volunteer incriminating information. If you don’t consent to the tests, you can fight DUI charges as the lawyer will ensure due diligence. This doesn’t mean that the officers have bad intentions, but it is better if you protect your rights as much as possible, keeping in mind the severity of a DUI conviction.

A DUI checkpoint doesn’t have to be challenging. If you are arrested, contacting a DC DUI lawyer helps you navigate the process, ensuring that you realize desirable results. This includes dismissing the charges, reducing DUI to OWI, and dealing with possible license suspension concerns, among other considerations following your situation.