According to the United States Department of Justice, 1.2 million Americans were arrested for driving under the influence in 2011. Before you assume it can't happen to you, realize that being impaired by even a small amount of alcohol can put you at risk of facing prosecution. If you're ever put into a situation where you're drinking before getting behind the wheel, here are a few do's and don'ts to keep in mind:
Do Avoid Incriminating Yourself
Being pulled over is scary, and you might feel compelled to spill your guts. However, realize that even if you only had a single drink and are not visibly intoxicated, the officer is going to assume you are. The officer will ask you several questions, and it is vital to decline answering all of them.
For example, if the officer asks "Do you know why you've been pulled over," answer "No, sir." If the officer asks "Have you been drinking," tell them "I do not wish to answer that question."
Don't be surprised if the officer becomes increasingly angry and even threatens you with prosecution for not answering. If this occurs, let the officer know you are aware it is your right to not incriminate yourself.
Do Be Nice and Courteous
The officer's job is to watch every move you make and pick up on any non-verbal cues, including your attitude. No matter how belligerent the officer becomes, it is vital to remain courteous.
For example, don't hesitate to hand over your driver's license and proof of insurance with a smile. However, remember that it is vital you not incriminate yourself by answering any questions about how much alcohol you consumed.
Don't Participate in Field Sobriety Tests
From the Romberg balance test to the breathalyzer and the finger to nose, there are several field sobriety tests that officers use to determine if you are inebriated. The officer will ask you to step out of your vehicle and take one or several of these tests. It is your right to refuse to participate in a field sobriety test.
Even if you only had a single drink, it is important to avoid taking any field sobriety tests. Remember, these tests are very difficult to pass and are designed to make you fail. The officer will watch you very closely and will interpret any minor slip or miss as a sign you have been drinking.
The officer will tell you that you are required to take these field sobriety tests, which is simply not the case. Instead, politely refuse and continue to avoid incriminating yourself.
Don't Be Surprised If You Get Arrested
Finally, realize that even if you've been polite, avoided spilling the beans and refused the field sobriety tests, there is still a big chance you will be arrested. If this occurs, it is important that you observe everything that is happening very closely.
For example, remember the street where you were arrested. Ask for the officer's name and badge number. Once you are able, write down all the details of your arrest. These details will be critical when you face a judge.
Once you are released, it is vital you contact an attorney, immediately. The attorney will help guide you in the next steps of your DUI arrest. Do not attempt to face the justice system on your own, and, instead, work with a lawyer who will help protect you and your rights.
From making sure to not accidentally incriminate yourself to being prepared for the possibility you will be arrested, when it comes to getting pulled over for drinking under the influence, there are many do's and don'ts to keep in mind. However, one of the most important do's to remember is to call a lawyer immediately if you are pulled over and arrested for drinking and driving. For information on DUI lawyers, check out websites like http://www.hartlawofficespc.net.