Enjoying an alcoholic drink is something that many adults enjoy, but when you consume too much and then try to operate a vehicle it can lead to trouble. Having a few drinks and then driving can be a slippery slope- everyone metabolizes alcohol differently, and each state has their own threshold for driving under the influence. It can be hard to determine your limit-- you may feel completely alert and cognizant after a couple of drinks, but your blood alcohol content (BAC) may qualify you for a charge of driving under the influence (DUI). If you are stopped by a police officer after consuming any alcohol, avoid these common mistakes:
Arguing with the Officer
Drivers can be pulled over for a variety of reasons, from speeding to having a burnt out brake light. You could look down to change the radio station, and that can cause you to slightly swerve and then be pulled over for suspected DUI. No matter how you feel, avoid fighting or arguing with the officer. It is almost always in your best interest to behave in a respectful manner and follow the instructions of the police officer.
Refusing to Take a Breathalyzer
Being pulled over for suspected DUI can be very stressful, and it is not uncommon for people to try to get out of being charged and arrested. But refusing a breathalyzer test is never a good idea. When you get your driver's license you agree to the Implied Consent Laws of your state, which say that you will consent to BAC testing and field sobriety tests if you are pulled over by a police officer who suspects that you are driving under the influence. The police officer cannot force you to do a breathalyzer test, but refusing to do so can result in an automatic suspension of your license, and other penalties and fees depending on what state you live in. In addition, refusing a breathalyzer test does not automatically prevent a DUI.
Talking Too Much to the Arresting Officer
When you're pulled over for suspected DUI, you may feel like you need to explain the situation, or answer every question that the officer asks you. But it is in your best interest to cooperate, but only provide required information, such as your driver's license and registration. If the officer asks you to verify your name, address, or asks for your phone number you should comply. But after that you have the right to remain silent, and you should not say anything that could incriminate you.
Not Hiring a Lawyer
DUI charges are very common, and in many cases they are classified as misdemeanors, but that doesn't mean that you should try to represent yourself in court. Most states are cracking down on driving under the influence, and if you are convicted you could face fines, alcohol education classes, a suspended license, and even time in jail. When you have an experienced DUI attorney working on your behalf you have a much better chance of a favorable sentence from the court system, especially if it is your first DUI offense.