What to Do If You're Pulled Over & Arrested for Drunk Driving

Getting pulled over by law enforcement can be a frightening and nerve-wracking experience, especially if you had a few alcoholic beverages before driving. Whether you consumed alcohol earlier in the night or a couple of minutes prior to getting behind the wheel, there is a possibility of getting arrested for drunk driving. However, there are certain steps you can take to avoid incriminating yourself and making matters much worse.

The following are the steps you should take after getting pulled over for drunk driving:

  1. Pull over in a safe place. As soon as law enforcement pulls you over for drunk driving, they begin making observations to include in the police report. This documentation can have a substantial impact on the outcome of both your DMV hearing and criminal trial. One of the first observations an officer records is how you pull over.
  2. Be polite. If you are rude or hostile, the police officer is more likely to try to get you arrested and convicted, including writing an incriminating report. If you treat the officer with respect, you are less likely to be arrested.
  3. Do not answer any possible incriminating questions, and don’t lie. The only thing you need to give to the officer is your name, license, and registration. If law enforcement asks you if you’ve been drinking or how much – and you’re worried that you might incriminate yourself – just say, “I’m sorry, officer, but I’ve been advised not to answer any questions.” If you have had only one or two drinks hours ago, just say so. Lying, on the other hand, can be used against you in court.
  4. Refuse a field sobriety test and a hand-held breathalyzer. You are under no legal obligation to perform a field sobriety test, which law enforcement often uses to gather evidence against you – since these tests are often subjective and not reliable indicators of intoxication. Roadside breathalyzers are notoriously unreliable – with countless ways to manipulate the results.
  5. Submit to chemical testing at the police station. As a licensed driver, you have an obligation to take a test at the police station. You can decide between a blood, breath, or urine test. Many DUI lawyers advise their clients to take the breath test since they’re more unreliable, which makes them more vulnerable to attack in the courtroom.
  6. As soon as you are released, write down everything you can recall about the night. The more notes you take about your arrest, the easier it will be for your lawyer to fight the charges against you. Answer the following questions when writing your notes:
    1. What were you doing before you drove and where?
    2. How much did you drink?
      How long after you were arrested?
    3. How did the arresting officer behave?
    4. What did you say to the officer?
    5. Where were you pulled over?
    6. Did the arresting officer read your Miranda rights?
    7. How long had it been since you drank once you took the chemical test?
  7. Call your attorney. If you were arrested and charged with a DUI, it is imperative to obtain the legal services of a skilled and experienced DUI attorney. You must find a qualified lawyer who has a comprehensive understanding of Michigan DUI law.

Contact our Okemos criminal defense attorney at White Law PLLC for more information today.