Approximately 1.5 million people are arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) each year. Being arrested for this offense can significantly impact a person’s freedoms and hinder their ability to drive. If you are pulled over for a suspected DUI, there are several things you can do to protect yourself.
According to Charles Koenig, a DUI lawyer and co-founder of Koenig & Owens, “most criminal cases don’t end up going to trial. This is because many of the DUI cases are either thrown out or resolved with a plea bargain before going to court.” Getting this type of favorable outcome in your case requires some professional legal assistance. If you are looking for ways to increase your chances of overturning a DUI charge, check out the helpful information below.
Never Resist Arrest
Regardless of how innocent you believe yourself to be, never give officers a reason to think you are resisting arrest. Begging, cursing, or becoming argumentative with the arresting officer will make matters much worse. If an officer believes you are resisting arrest, they may believe your actions could become aggressive, which could lead to additional charges being added.
It is important to comply with the requests of the attending officer, and try to remain as polite and accommodating as possible. When a judge sees that you have received both a DUI and resisting arrest charge, it will be harder for them to be sympathetic to your case. By remaining calm and polite, you can avoid letting this already tense situation escalate further.
Assessing Whether There Was Probable Cause For the Stop
In order for a police officer to pull over a motorist, they need probable cause. If you are pulled over with no probable cause, your DUI charges may get dismissed. Generally, police officers will pull over drivers they suspect of operating a vehicle under the influence if they see them swerve or drive erratically.
Most people fail to realize that the evidence a police officer collects after pulling a vehicle over without probable cause is inadmissible in court. When pulled over by a police officer, you need to respectfully ask them why they have stopped you. Simply driving at a certain time of night is not considered probable cause.
If you feel like you have been pulled over without probable cause and charged with a DUI, you need to seek out legal counsel immediately. With their assistance, you may be able to get these charges overturned.
Medical Conditions Can Create Mouth Alcohol
Did you realize that some medical conditions can make your blood alcohol content (BAC) levels appear higher than they actually are? One of the most common conditions that can cause this problem is referred to as gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. This condition leads to excessive acid being produced in the stomach.
The excess acid travels from a person’s stomach to their throat and mouth. If this happens just before a breathalyzer is administered, it can give false readings and can result in you getting charged with a DUI.
Allowing a legal professional to look over the details of your DUI arrest is essential when trying to figure out whether you have been wrongly accused.
Avoid Taking a Field Sobriety Test
After an officer pulls you over for a suspected DUI, they will usually request that you take a field sobriety test. These tests are a series of exercises designed to determine whether or not you are under the influence of alcohol or other substances. More often than not, participation in these tests is completely voluntary. This means you are well within your rights to deny the officer’s request for one of these roadside tests.
In some instances, a person who is perfectly sober can fail one of these tests because they are nervous, or have other pre-existing health conditions. If you attempt to pass a field sobriety test and fail, it will be used against you in court, whether you were sober or not. This is why refusing the test is your best course of action.
Be Careful with Your Words
Police officers are trained to conduct interviews and elicit confessions from potentially guilty individuals. Regardless of your sobriety, admitting to any alcohol consumption can give the impression of guilt. Some individuals get very nervous after being pulled over, especially when considering the prospect of jail time, that they start nervously revealing any and all information to police officers.
It’s important to only answer the questions that are asked of you, with short and concise responses. If you are placed in the backseat of a police vehicle, remain quiet as well. Most modern police vehicles are equipped with cameras and sound equipment. This means everything you say while in one of these vehicles could be recorded.
Most police departments also provide their offices with body cameras. With these cameras, the officer can record every interaction they have with the general public. Realizing you are being surveilled during your interaction with police should be all the motivation you need to keep your mouth shut.
Contact a Lawyer Immediately
If you are taken into custody, contact a lawyer as soon as you are able to make a phone call. These legal professionals are familiar with the DUI laws in your state and can best help you with the next steps and guidance. With this knowledge, they can also start building a case on your behalf. Trying to navigate the complex legal system alone could lead to severe charges being levied against you. Instead of dealing with the fallout that can occur from mounting your own defense in court, you should entrust this job to a lawyer.
Listen to Sound Advice
Only take the advice and recommendations from your lawyer. Rather than listening to potential misinformation from friends and family members regarding how to proceed with your DUI charge, your lawyer has the knowledge and experience needed to offer you sound and factual advice on how to put this bad experience behind you.