Seeing the flashing red and blue lights in your rearview mirror means you've attracted a cop's attention. If you think it's because the officer suspects you're driving under the influence, it's critical you remain calm and avoid doing these three things.
Don't Admit to Drinking
Cops want you to tell on yourself because it makes it easier to arrest you for cause and provides the prosecutor with ammunition to use to convict you. It doesn't matter how much you drank or how many hours passed between your last beer and when you got behind the wheel of your vehicle, whatever you say will be used against you in court.
Thus, the officer may ask leading questions to get you to admit to drinking and driving, such as inquiring where you were coming from or going and the type of gathering it was if you mention to them that you just left a party.
While you want to be respectful, it's essential you don't tell the officer anything that could be interpreted as a confession to drinking. Keep your answers vague and noncommittal. If you feel you can't answer without giving anything away, then simply make liberal use of your right to remain silent.
It's better to let the officer draw inaccurate conclusions that can be disputed later on than to confirm the person's suspicions and give them a reason to arrest you.
Don't Submit to the Field Sobriety Test
When officers want to establish whether suspects are intoxicated without breaking out the breathalyzer kit, they often have those people perform a field sobriety test. This is essentially a series of physical and mental exercises used to ascertain just how impaired someone is, which can provide the cop with causes to arrest the person.
Unlike breathalyzers and chemical testing, you are not required to perform a field sobriety test as they are completely optional. If the officer tries to pressure or intimidate you into performing one, just advise them you are under no legal obligation to comply and ask to contact your attorney.
Be aware that the prosecutor may attempt to use your refusal to imply your guilt, but this can be countered with a number of defenses, such as notifying the court of any medical conditions you have that would've impacted the results.
However, as noted previously, breathalyzer and chemical testing are not optional. If the cop escalates and requests you take a breathalyzer, depending on your state, you may be required by law to submit, so don't unnecessarily compound your legal problems by refusing.
Don't Wait to Call an Attorney
If you're taken into custody for a suspected DUI, contact an attorney at the earliest possible moment. First, there are things your lawyer can do to get you out of jail quickly, so you're not stuck there for days or weeks waiting for a bail hearing. They may even be able to get the charges dismissed if the cop's evidence is lacking.
Second, there are typically deadlines you must meet to avoid other problems associated with being arrested for a DUI. For instance, the police will notify the DMV about the details of your DUI stop. The agency may put an automatic suspension flag on your license to go into effect 30 days after the arrest, and you must request a hearing within a certain amount of time (sometimes a little as 10 days) to stop it.
Getting stopped for a DUI can be a nerve-wracking event, but keeping your cool and doing everything you can to avoid implicating yourself can go a long way towards helping you fight the charge in court. For help with your case, contact a DUI attorney.