What not to do when Pulled over for Driving while Intoxicated

When the red light flashes for you, drive safely and pull over at the nearest location. You may be charged with evading arrest if you continue to drive to a location you think is suitable. If you have alcohol in the car, get it out of plain sight if you can. If the officer does not see it from outside the car, he cannot search the car without your permission.

You are under no obligation to answer any of the questions asked by the officer. Be polite and say you prefer not to answer any questions at this time. Some of the questions he may ask are: “How much have you had to drink?”; “Must have been quite a party?”; “Do you know why I pulled you over?”; Where are you coming from?” etc. Any statements or questions you make or answer will be written down and used against you. Also, if you are intoxicated, he can say you used slurred speech and that will be a factor that will be used in court. Never tell the officer you only had a couple of beers; that’s a usual answer from someone who is intoxicated.

Be polite to the officer even if he is difficult. If you do not, he will write down that you were uncooperative or worse and it may work against you in court. He will give you various FSTs (field sobriety tests) like walk the line, stand on one foot for 10 seconds, lean back and touch the tip of your nose or other similar tests. He may smell your breath (if you can down some gum of breath mints without being seen before you pull over, it’s risky, but if you’re sure go ahead. He may shine a flashlight in your eyes to test your horizontal nystigmous (abnormal eye ball movement). Never ask what the tests are for and never argue with the officer about them. Listen to his instructions carefully and do the best you can with the tests. If you fail to follow instructions, like raising your left hand when he says right hand, that can be an indication of intoxication.

If you think you passed the test and the officer arrests you anyway, don’t argue. The tests are not the determining factor; it’s the blood, urine, of breath test you take later that is. You will get your choice of tests breath, urine or blood. Blood is the most accurate and the hardest to challenge in court, but if you are sure you’re not intoxicated, and the results are favorable, it will be better for you. The breath test can be the most inaccurate for a variety of reasons so often it’s the best and least intrusive test.

In closing, never tell the officer you had anything to drink. Say as little as possible while remaining respectful and polite.