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IF YOU ARE STOPPED, WHAT NEXT?

 

What you should do

Pull your vehicle over as soon as possible.  Law enforcement is looking for ANY vehicle and traffic violations.  Therefore, make sure you use a turn signal and pull the vehicle over when it is safe to do so. It will be noted if you delay in pulling your vehicle over, fail to use a turn signal, block traffic or don't pull over to a safe location. 

Remain in your vehicle. Get your license out. Also, get out your vehicle registration and your insurance card. It is probable that you will be asked to produce all three documents.  Delay will be noted and attributed to alcohol.  Often the officer puts his or her head in the vehicle to smell for an odor of alcohol.  They are aparently good sniffers.  Even if you are on a busy highway, with wind blowing about the vehicle they are able to smell alcohol and 90 percent of the time they will testify that it is a strong odor of alchol even if you only had two glasses of wine. 

Keep your hands were they can be seen at all times.  Understandably, police are concerned for their own safety and do not know if a weapon is in the vehicle.

Sometimes police ask you "have you been drinking tonight?" before any other question.  This is to catch you off guard.  You might be focused on whether you were speeding or if you didn't use a turn signal.  Motorists caught off guard will respond yes if they have.   Our advise is that you  don't answer questions about whether you were drinking, what kind of alcohol or how much.  Ask to make a telephone call to your lawyer before making any admissions which your lawyer will later regret.  If you are asked where you are headed to respond by speaking slowly and deliberately.  Make sure that your responses are clear.  Make sure that you answer the question asked.  Politely respond to any questions about safety or the direction you are traveling.  Again do not make any admissions about alcohol, bars, parties without first speaking to an attorney.  If the officer persists just be polite and indicate that you will answer that question after talking to your lawyer.

The officer will ask you to step out of your vehicle.  He will note if you lean against your door, your vehicle, or there is a delay in exiting the vehicle.  You will likely be taken behind your vehicle and in front of the police vehicle both for officer safety but also so any passengers cannot see your performance on standardized field sobriety tests.  Most clients feel the police pressure and perform sobriety tests.  Again our advise is that you do not perform these tests without speaking to us first.  If the officer insists you perform the tests tell them that you would be happy to do so but would like to call our office first.  Some police officers will allow you to speak with your lawyer.  Most will not and will threaten that there are bad consequences for not doing them.  Stick to your guns and be polite. Our office is available 24/7.

If you do elect to perform field sobriety tests understand that the officer is not asking that you stand on one foot or walk a line.  They will give you as many as fifteen instructions and then tell you to begin.  If you do not do exactly what they ask of you then you will be marked down as a fail.  Part of the test is in the ability to remember all of the instructions.  This will be your first time at this.   Police have done it hundreds of times.  Again call us before you begin.  If your phone is taken away then refuse the tests until you can speak with your lawyer. 

What you should NOT do

Do not continue to drive if a police officer is behind you with emergency lights activated.

Do not pull your vehicle over in the middle of traffic.

Do not pull the vehicle over near a center median.

Do not roll down your window entirely.

Do not be argumentative or impolite.

Do not cry or become emotional.

Do not beg or plead for leniency.

Do not laugh or find humor even if the arresting officer is doing so.

Do not try to explain what you were trying to do (e.g. swerving to get out of the way of some other vehicle or speeding to a location where it was safe).

Do not try explain the present status of your license (e.g. you already have points on your license and cannot afford another ticket).

Do not hand the police officer a wallet or billfold with you license, registration and insurance card buried in it and expect him/her to dig it out.

Do not try to impress the police officer with the fact that you might know another police officer.

Do not volunteer information that you were coming from a bar. Do not argue that you know your "rights."  Do not demand to be read your "rights."

Do not volunteer information about what you were drinking or how much.

Do not volunteer information that you just came from a bar or night club.

Do not attempt to perform standardized field sobriety tests in high heels.

Do not attempt to perform standardized field sobriety tests if you are not given instructions in your native language.

 

 






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