No one wants to get pulled over by the police. Even if you don’t think you’ve done anything wrong, you may get jittery if you see blue lights behind you. If you have a busted taillight or you had a few drinks, you may be even more worried. The first thing you need to do is stay calm and comply with the request to pull over. Then call an Atlanta DUI attorney who can represent and protect you.
No matter how scared you are, you should never attempt to evade the police. Stop in the nearest spot that’s safe and try to be in a lighted location. Once you’ve done that, you need to follow the steps we’ll outline below.
Grab Your Driver’s License and Proof of Insurance
These documents should always be in easy reach. If you’re suspected of driving while under the influence, this is even more important. Fumbling or taking a long time to produce your license and proof of insurance may be interpreted as evidence of impairment. If you don’t want to start off on the wrong foot, make sure you can obtain your documents easily.
Mind Your Manners
Be polite when addressing the officer even if you’re tired or you don’t believe they had a valid reason to stop you. There’s a good chance your comments are being recorded or you’re being videotaped. What you say could hurt you later so avoid cursing or being belligerent. If you have passengers in the car, you should advise them not to say anything unless the police ask them a question. Even then, they should simply state their name and address if requested.
Say as Little as Possible
If you’re suspected of a DUI, the officer will be paying close attention to your speech. Many arrest reports say the driver displayed slurred speech. Your speech patterns will be less noticeable if you keep your comments to a minimum. You should also decline to answer questions about whether you’ve been drinking. Don’t say you only had one or two drinks. This may seem okay to a friend but to an officer, it’s almost an admission of intoxication.
Refuse to Do Field Sobriety Tests
You have the right to decline field sobriety tests in Georgia. Even if you haven’t had a drop of alcohol, you should refuse. As Atlanta DUI lawyers will tell you, these tests are designed to make individuals fail. If you don’t perform perfectly, the officer will assume you’re under the influence. If they don’t smell alcohol on your breath, they may think you used drugs. It’s best to refuse all tests of agility, balance, eye movement and the like. You should also refuse to take a roadside breath test. The results won’t be admissible in court in any case.
Think Carefully Before You Submit to Chemical Testing
Deciding whether to take a breath, blood or urine test can be a bit more difficult. If you’ve had alcohol or you’ve taken a prescription or non-prescription drug, you should refuse testing in some circumstances. These include if you’re:
- A driver with an out-of-state license
- A commercial driver’s license holder
- A driver under the age of 21
- A driver involved in a crash resulting in serious injuries or death
Police officers typically don’t ask for blood or urine tests unless they suspect drug use or the driver needs medical treatment. If you’ve had a lot to drink, you should decline the chemical test. The officer will then have to prove you were impaired in another way. Breath tests can be unreliable if not properly handled so these results can often be challenged. If you agree to take the state’s chemical test, you have to right to get your own independent test. You should always take advantage of this right.
Ask for an Attorney
Ask the officer to allow you to talk to a Georgia DUI lawyer as soon as possible. The officer doesn’t have to stop arresting or booking you to let you call a lawyer, but you need to put this request on record. After you say this, don’t make any other comments about the case. Even if the officer is away from you, a microphone may be recording your statements. You need to be careful.
Contact Howard & Arca to Get Expert Assistance with Your Case
The sooner you contact a lawyer, the better it will be for you. If you want to keep your driver’s license, you’ll have a short time to file the necessary paperwork. And, given the penalties and stigma associated with DUIs, you need to have a competent Atlanta DUI lawyer on your side. At Howard & Arca, we’ll do everything we can to secure the best possible outcome for you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.