Knowing what to do during a DUI stop can mean the difference between going home that night, or going to jail and facing criminal charges. Here are some tips to ensure you have the best chances of survival if you are stopped by law enforcement.
What you’re trying to accomplish:
Your goal is simple: go home without going to jail. If you act in the appropriate manner, and know what to say, you can increase your chances of going home instead of going to jail. If being taken to the station is inevitable (sometimes cops are jerks), your next steps involve invoking as many rights as you have so as to not make the situation any worse. You are required to be cooperative with law enforcement and not interfere with their duties. This DOES NOT mean you have to waive any rights you have. Here are some important rights you have during any DUI stop:
-You have the right to remain silent
You are required to give law enforcement your driver’s license, and to furnish them with proof of valid insurance during traffic stops. You are not required to answer any other questions. Do not discuss where you’re going to, where you’re coming from, if you have had anything to drink, or anything else. Be polite but firm. Do not answer questions when you have the right to remain silent.
-You DO NOT have to perform the “field sobriety tests”
Field sobriety tests are optional, not mandatory. You do not have to follow the officer’s finger as he wavies it in front of your face. You do not have to walk on his imaginary line or stand on one leg. The road-side field sobriety tests are not mandatory and will not help you in any way. Officers will watch your performance and look for any little, minor, deviation and exaggerate it to make you look impaired.
As an example, police reports often say “suspect was unable to stand for the full 30 seconds on one leg. Based on this, I formed the opinion that the suspect was too impaired to safely drive” or similar descriptions, even if driver who performed the test successfully for 28 seconds. The officer who is reviewing your performance during the test isn’t going to give you the benefit of the doubt, and he isn’t going to overlook minor discrepancies or deficiencies. Don’t walk into this trap. Don’t do any field sobriety tests. This means:
-No HGN (where you follow the officer’s finger)
-No Walk the Line
-No One Leg Stand
-You only have to give them the breath test or blood test at the station
DO NOT blow into the PAS screening device at the side of the road. DON’T. It is only going to be used against you. You are only required to submit a PAS sample for law enforcement if you are on DUI probation. Otherwise, you don’t have to perform the PAS test. You will, however, have to blow into their Breathalyzer at the police station, if you are arrested.
Blood or Breath?
Each test has its pro’s and con’s.