Seeing a police car’s flashing lights in your rearview mirror can be a frightening sight, especially if you’ve had a beer or two before heading home.
However, even after a DWI arrest, it’s crucial to understand that an accusation does not mean you are guilty or are likely to be found guilty of drunk driving.
Steps to take after being pulled over
Police must have a valid reason to stop you, such as speeding or other traffic violations, equipment malfunctions, like a broken taillight, or tips from the public. Once you see the flashing police lights:
- Pull over quickly and safely
- Stop your vehicle, remain inside and place your hands on the steering wheel
- Politely respond to the officer and follow his or her instructions
- Exercise your Fifth Amendment rights by not answering their questions over whether you’ve been drinking, where you’ve been or who you’ve been with
- If arrested, stay calm and ask for a lawyer
Defense strategies for DWI
Experienced DWI defense lawyers understand that DWI charges often result from errors, such as:
- Improper stop: Police did not have a legal reason to pull you over.
- Faulty sobriety test protocols: Officers must follow strict requirements for implementing field sobriety and breath tests, and they often fail to follow procedures.
- Flawed breath tests: Readings from approved breath test devices are frequently wrong, or officers do not correctly administer tests in many instances.
- Medical conditions: Drivers often fail field sobriety tests due to prescription medications or medical reasons leading officers to conclude they are intoxicated.
- Police interrogation errors: You cannot be questioned without your attorney present after invoking your Fifth Amendment rights.
Keep a cool head and take notes
While being pulled over and suspected of DWI can be a nerve-wracking experience for anyone, it’s crucial to your defense to remain calm and fully document your interaction with the police. The officer who stops you is one of, if not the most critical part of the prosecution’s case against you.
Observing the officer’s actions and taking notes can be a vital tool for your defense lawyer, who in many cases can point to investigative, procedural or technical errors that lead to reduced penalties or charges, as well as the possibility of the case being dropped.