5 Important Tips to Remember if You’re Arrested for DWI or DUI

Each state has its own set of laws and procedures for prosecuting DWI and DUI cases, and it is beyond the scope of this article to include state-specific dui tips. While this guide will give you valuable information that applies to every jurisdiction, you should contact a qualified local dui attorney if you have specific questions or concerns about the DWI and DUI laws in your state. Many state bar associations can either refer you to a dui lawyer or provide a directory of practicing lawyers to choose from. Alternatively, you have the right to represent yourself in a DUI, although it may not always be the best choice without specific legal background.

1. Be polite and non-confrontational.
Police officers are people too, and will be more likely to treat you with courtesy and respect if you treat them the same way. One of the surest ways to wind up handcuffed in the back seat of a police car is to act loud and argumentative. The less of a problem you are for the officer, the better off you are going to be.

2. Exercise your right to remain silent.
Anytime you are stopped by a police office while driving, you should be prepared to show three items: your driver’s license, your vehicle registration, and proof of insurance coverage. What you are not required to do is answer any questions. The sole purpose of asking questions is to help build a case against you if you are arrested. Read more tips about what to do if you get stopped for a dui test.

If you have intoxicating alcohol or drugs in your system, you should politely inform the officer that you have been advised by your attorney not to answer any questions. On the other hand, if you have nothing in your system that would impair your driving ability, answering basic questions about where you have been or whether you have been drinking might get you back on the road without undue delay.

3. Keep vehicle registration & insurance papers together in an easily accessible place.
If you have to fumble around searching for these documents, the officer might construe this as further evidence of intoxication and note this in the report for later use against you in court.

4. Politely refuse any field sobriety test.
This includes walking in a straight line, and reciting the alphabet backwards. The problem with these tests is the complete lack of impartial standards; whether you pass or fail a field sobriety test depends solely on the personal opinion of the officer who stopped you, who is probably inclined to arrest you anyway.

The officer may also ask you to take what is called a preliminary alcohol screening test, or PAS test. This is conducted at the scene with a handheld breath analyzer. Although generally reliable, these devices need to be recalibrated on a regular schedule to maintain their accuracy. Taking the PAS test is generally voluntary on your part, as opposed to the mandatory sobriety testing required if you are arrested for DWI or DUI. Failure to submit to the mandatory test will cost you your driving privileges for up to a year, and possibly more jail time, regardless of whether you are convicted of DWI or DUI. A local dui lawyer can advise you of the consequences specific to your state.

5. If arrested, opt for the blood test.
If you are arrested and given a choice between a blood or a breath test to satisfy your state’s mandatory testing requirements, choose the blood test. There are simply more ways that blood test results can be challenged in court by your dui attorney.

While these dui tips may not keep you from getting arrested, they may help protect you from the serious and expensive consequences of a DWI or DUI conviction on your record.