What To Do If You Are Pulled Over for Drunk Driving
The first thing you should remember is that the police are trained to watch your every move. They are watching how you pull the car over. They are observing you through the back window as you lean over to get your license and registration. They are noting how long it takes you to remove your license from your wallet. They are scrutinizing where you hold your hands. They are monitoring what it is that your eyes look at. Every question they ask of you is designed to obtain incriminating evidence. They expect you to fail any request that is made.
Now that you are sufficiently paranoid, here is what to do if you are ever in this situation.
1. When you see police lights behind you always be sure to pull over carefully to the RIGHT side of the road. Do not speed up. Do not make any quick movements within the car. A traffic stop is one of the most dangerous situations a police officer finds themselves. Assume they are just as jumpy and nervous as you are.
2. Do not make any statements concerning where you were, where you are going, whether you were drinking, etc. Police officers are trained to try to gather as much information they can to be used against you later. While they are taking down your driver’s license information they will engage you in ‘small talk’. If they ask you any questions about your evening or whether you were drinking, politely tell them that you have been advised by an attorney that you should never answer these questions. Be ready for them to be a little perturbed. They may try to convince you that talking to them is a good idea and that if you just answer a few questions he will be able to let you go. Don’t believe them.
3. Do not submit to any field sobriety tests. These are the Touch your Finger to your Nose, Say the Alphabet Backwards, Walk Heel-to-Toe, Stand on One Leg, etc. These tests are designed for you to fail.
4. The Breath Test. This is a little tougher. If you refuse to submit to a breath test you will lose your license for a period of time. If you submit to a breath test and it reads over .08, you will lose your license for a period of time.
So, this question must be analyzed looking to the potential criminal charges.
If you know that you are intoxicated and that it is likely, if not sure, that you are over the legal limit; do not submit to a breath test. You will lose your license for a short period, which would have happened anyway but you did not provide the Government with any additional evidence to be used against you. A reading of .08 is presumptive of impairment.
If you believe that you are not over the legal limit and are not impaired here is a quick math test for you to use to decide whether to take the test(if you are too drunk to do the math—don’t blow in the machine):
Assume every beer adds .02 to the breath test and
every mixed drink adds .03 (if you are friends with the bartender use .04)
Multiply the number of drinks you had by the appropriate concentration level.
Example: You drank 3 beers. 3 x .02 = .06
Simultaneously your liver is burning off the alcohol. So, count the number of hours between your first drink and the time you are offered the breath test. Then multiply that by .015.
Example: You started drinking beers at 7:00 p.m.
You left the bar at 9:00 p.m.
You are asked to take a breath test at 10:00 p.m.
Three hours have elapsed. 3 x .015 = .045
|So, if you take what your blood alcohol from consumption was:||.06|
|and you subtract what your body had burned off:||-.015|
|You are left with an estimate of your blood alcohol level:||.015|
If you are reasonably certain that you will not register a .08 or higher, then you may want to chance taking the breath test to avoid losing your license and possibly avoid the criminal charges all together.
1The exact language of the laws varies from State. This is only intended to be an overview. One should consult an attorney in your jurisdiction for specific details relating to your case.