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What to Do If You Are Pulled Over for DUI

March 24, 2011

If you are pulled over by the police on suspicion of DUI, there are things you should – and should not – do to help beat the charges that may be filed against you, whether you had no drinks, one drink or more than one:

Stay calm.  By panicking and fumbling around for your license and registration, you give the police more support in their probable cause to arrest you.  It’s a good idea to keep your documents handy when you are in the car to avoid this.

Do not answer questions.  Police may ask you if you have been drinking.  The only answer you should give – politely – is, “I have been advised by an attorney not to answer questions like that.”

Refuse a field sobriety or Breathalyzer test. You do not need to take any field sobriety test.  If requested to do so, refuse politely.  The officer can ask you to take any test or test for alcohol. If you refuse the alcohol test, you are subject to the mandatory loss of your driving privileges for one year.  If you accept the test, your driving privileges can be suspended for 90 days if your test results exceed 0.08.  Normally, if it is your first offense, I recommend refusing the field sobriety test, BUT take the alcohol test.  If it is a second offense (or more), then a conviction would result in at least a 1-year revocation.  So, in that case, I would normally recommend refusing all field sobriety and alcohol tests as your driving privileges will likely be invalid for at least one year.

Use passengers as witnesses. Make sure any passengers in the car observe your interaction with the police so they can be used as witnesses if necessary at trial to rebut the police’s account.  If they can record the incident on cell phones that would be even better.

Finally, call an expert in criminal defense law to ensure your rights are protected and that you receive a fair trial, if it comes to that.

If you have been arrested for Arizona DUI and need a Phoenix criminal defense attorney, please feel free to contact me.

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