When it comes to drunk driving, the best approach is to avoid doing it altogether. However, sometimes poor judgment gets in the way, and results in a DUI arrest. Anyone who’s been in this situation may feel like there’s nothing they can do to beat the charge, but that often isn’t the case. Legal firms like Big Man Law regularly help their clients with this type of case, even if at first it seems like nothing can be done.
What to do if you’re pulled over while under the influence
If you’re behind the wheel while intoxicated and end up getting stopped by a police officer, there are several things you can do to help your case.
- Pull over in a controlled manner
As soon as an officer suspects that you may be driving while intoxicated, they’ll start observing every move you make. Once you get the signal to pull over, make sure you do so in a calm, controlled way, and only when you’ve found a safe spot on the side of the road.
- Stay calm
Even if you have open alcoholic beverages in the vehicle, don’t start trying to hide them; just keep your hands on the steering wheel and wait for the officer to arrive.
- Don’t share more than you have to
Legally, you’re only required to give your proof of insurance, vehicle registration, driver’s license, and name. You don’t have to answer questions about whether you’ve been drinking, or how much, so you’ll probably end up declining to give that information. A good way to phrase your refusals to answer would be “I’m going to invoke my right to remain silent.”
- Decline sobriety tests
Most states don’t require individuals to complete a breathalyzer test, or perform field sobriety tests. If you refuse, your license may be suspended; however, the benefits are worth that cost. Without the results of field sobriety tests to present in court, the prosecution’s best proof will be the officer’s subjective account of your behavior and appearance at the time of the arrest. Although handheld breathalyzers and field sobriety tests are notoriously unreliable, they still count as objective data that can be used against you. Unless you’re 100% sure that you aren’t intoxicated, it’s best to decline these tests.
- After release, write down everything that happened
As soon as you’re released, you should write down every detail about what happened; this record can be instrumental in helping your lawyer build a strong defense. Details to include are:
- How much you had to drink, and what you were drinking
- Where you were/what you were up to before driving under the influence
- How long between your last drink and getting pulled over
- What the officer said and how they treated you
- Your responses to their instructions
- If you were arrested, whether or not you were read the Miranda rights
- Where and when you completed the chemical test
- How long between your last drink and the chemical test
Even if some of these details aren’t in your favor, you should be as accurate as possible.
- Hire a lawyer
Whether or not you were under the influence when you got arrested, it’s crucial to get an attorney as quickly as possible. They’ll help you fight the charges, and ensure the best possible outcome.
How a DUI lawyer can help you beat a drunk driving arrest
If you’ve been charged with a DUI, the prosecution has to prove your guilt beyond a doubt – which takes plenty of solid evidence. A DUI lawyer will work to weaken the prosecution’s case; this could mean casting doubt on their evidence, bringing new evidence to light, or finding flaws in police procedures. Here are some of the main strategies they use for DUI cases:
- They demonstrate that the breathalyzer results are inaccurate
- They suggest that the test results were a false positive, from something like ketosis, auto-brewery syndrome, or some other medical condition
- They prove that the stop was made without probable cause
- If applicable, they demonstrate that mishandled blood samples resulted in a false positive
- They establish that the field sobriety tests were incorrectly administered, or inaccurate for some other reason
- They prove that you weren’t the one in the driver’s seat
- They uncover police misconduct or errors while processing your case
- They prove that there were other reasons for your DUI symptoms (such as allergies causing red eyes, medication causing your breath to smell like alcohol, etc.)
Getting arrested for driving under the influence is never a good development, but it certainly isn’t the end of the road. By using recommended strategies and hiring a good lawyer, you’ll be more likely to beat the charge and get a second chance.