Nothing drives fear down the spine of a professional like being arrested for DWI.
No one ever wants to see flashing red and blue lights in the rearview mirror, especially when driving home late at night after having a few drinks with friends.
However, if you remain calm and follow these instructions, you may be able to avoid an arrest for DWI.
Or at least have a much better chance of beating your
….DWI case if you are arrested
- Pull your vehicle over to a safe, well-lit area as soon as possible, and turn on the overhead light inside your vehicle
- Roll down your window just a few inches, which is enough for you and the officer to communicate with each other
- Have your driver’s license and proof of insurance ready as soon as the officer approaches your vehicle. If you are fumbling around looking for these items while the officer stands there watching you, he will note in his report that you appeared confused and had trouble locating these items, and he will conclude it was a sign you were intoxicated
- Be polite and courteous, but do not answer any questions regarding your consumption of alcohol. You have a right to remain silent, and you have no legal obligation to do anything except provide the officer with your identification. Remember, anything you say and do is being video and audio recorded and will be used against you in court
- If the officer detects any odor of alcohol coming from you or your vehicle, or notices any other possible signs of intoxication, the officer will ask you to step out of your vehicle. Carefully exit your vehicle, and be very careful not to stumble, lose your balance, or lean against your vehicle to maintain your balance. Again, the officer is watching your every move, and will note in his report the slightest mistakes you make in order to bolster his claim that you were intoxicated
- The officer will ask you to perform some tests to determine if you are okay to drive home. In reality, the officer is not trying to find out if you are “okay to drive” with the intention of letting you go home. Instead, he is trying to collect evidence against you so he can arrest you for DWI
- Politely ask the officer, “Am I required by law to perform your tests?” The officer will have to reply that you are not required by law to perform field sobriety tests (any other response is a lie). You should then respond and say, “Well, I’m not familiar with your tests, and a lawyer friend of mine told me that sobriety tests are pretty unreliable, so I would prefer not to perform any tests until I can consult with an attorney. May I contact an attorney?”
- Do NOT let the officer persuade or coerce you into performing field sobriety tests. Such tests are unreliable, awkward to perform, and are specifically designed for you to fail and appear intoxicated. You officer will be videotaping you performing the test, and any sight mistake you make will be used against you in court
- At this point, you will probably be arrested for DWI. Cooperate with the officer and remain polite. Do not argue or protest at this point, as you have nothing to gain. If you resist, pull away, or struggle while being handcuffed or placed into the police car, you may be charged with an additional offense of resisting arrest
- After you are arrested, do not make any statements or answer any questions. Do not yell or scream at the police officer. Ask for an attorney
- The officer will read to you a document called a “Statutory Warning” and will ask you for a specimen of your breath or blood. Unless you are absolutely, 100% confident you are under the legal limit, you should always refuse a breath or a blood test
- After you refuse the breath or blood test, the police officer will seize your driver’s license and may apply for a search warrant to forcibly draw a sample of your blood for testing. If the officer obtains a search warrant, you cannot resist the blood draw. If you do, you will be charged with the separate offense of resisting a search. However, you should clearly state as often as possible that you do not consent to a blood test
- You will be booked into jail, and eventually taken before a Judge, who will tell you what you are charged with and will set your bond amount. The Judge will also set your bond conditions, which may include installing an ignition interlock device on your vehicle
- After you post bond and are released from jail, you should immediately contact and retain an experienced DWI lawyer who can take the necessary steps to protect your rights and fight your DWI case