Everything You Need To Know When You Get Pulled Over
If you get pulled over, the following several minutes will be crucial in determining the ramifications of the stop. Even though your actions before the stop are important, the way that you act in the presence of the police can make or break your case. To help you keep a clean record, here are some rules that you should follow, particularly with regard to DUI stops:
Don't Make Poor Decisions
First and foremost, you need to be calm and avoid any sudden movements. When you get pulled over, you should stay seated and upright in your seat, clearly in the view of the officer. At this point, you don't need to reach for your license and registration, since that could potentially look like a criminal reaching for a weapon from the perspective of the officer.
You should roll down your window when asked and you should comply with the officer's demands. If you do need to move, such as to reach for your license and registration, do so slowly and try to avoid jerking motions, even if you are worried.
This will ultimately help your case and convince the officer that you are calm and collected. More importantly, it will reduce the tension in the situation. The last thing that you want is to be placed on the ground in handcuffs because the officer saw you reaching into the glove compartment for what looked like a weapon.
Watch Your Words
Keeping your mouth shut is often the best course of action when it comes to arrests. You aren't going to help your case by volunteering information and arguing, but you can definitely self-incriminate. If you are directly asked a question, you are obligated to answer it, and you should do what the officer says. However, you don't need to do anything more, and if you are unsure about whether you should say something, your best bet is to talk to a DUI lawyer before you blurt it out.
Take the Test
If you have been pulled over and the officer suspects that you have been drinking, you will likely be asked to take a breathalyzer test. It may seem like you have a choice, but that isn't exactly true. While you can refuse the test, that would be extremely damaging to your case and can even be used as evidence that you were drunk and trying to hide it. Additionally, a refusal to take a breathalyzer test is grounds for temporarily revoking your license, since you implicitly agree to a series of rules when you get your driver's license.
Fortunately for you, BAC tests are not infallible, so even if you know that you are over the limit, the BAC test might come back below the limit. You can also later argue in court that the test was inaccurate, even if it came back above the legal level, since there is an inherent degree of inaccuracy. Even in a world where there are 100% accurate BAC tests, you can argue that the officer administered the test incorrectly, and that it wasn't calibrated beforehand.
Ultimately, your best course is to take the test and then argue against its results later. If you were not asked to take a breathalyzer test, then you actually have a pretty good chance at having your case dismissed outright, since there won't be much other physical evidence indicating that you were drunk at the time of the accident.