Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious problem; about one third of fatal car accidents in the United States are related to drunk driving. Police departments across the country are cracking down on DWIs to try to curb this trend. Unfortunately, sometimes overzealous cops falsely accuse people of drunk driving, and being accused of it can ruin your life even if you are ultimately acquitted.
– You should never try to “get away” with drunk driving. However, if you are about to be falsely accused of DUI, some of the steps below can help minimize the damage to your life and reputation.
Park in a Private Parking Lot
When you are pulled over, turn into a parking lot or driveway rather than parking on the side of the road. Make sure you park correctly–i.e., within the lines of a designated parking space. In most states, police cannot tow vehicles off of private property without a warrant to do so. Thus, if you are arrested, your car cannot be impounded.
Don’t Answer Questions Without an Attorney
You have the same right to remain silent as any other criminal defendant after your arrest. Many cops get around this by sneaking questions in before your arrest. For example, they may ask where you’re coming from or if you’ve had a drink when they first approach your vehicle. Don’t answer these questions, as your answers may be used against you.
Request Medical Intervention If Necessary
If you’re stressed out enough by being pulled over and accused of DUI, you may have a heart attack. If you experience cold sweats, tightness in your chest and numbness in your left side, tell the officer right away. He or she must call an ambulance for you. The upside to a potential heart attack is that the life-saving oxygen you get in the ambulance and the time spent saving your life will corrupt any breath or blood alcohol level tests the cops want to take after you’re stabilized.
Refuse to Take Field Sobriety Tests
The police ask you to take field sobriety tests in order to collect additional evidence that you are drunk. You don’t have to help them! Invoke your right to refuse to take these tests and ask the officer if you are being arrested if he or she asks you to exit the vehicle for any reason.
NOTE: Although you cannot be compelled to take a field sobriety test. However, you CAN be compelled to take a breathalyzer. If you refuse a breath or blood test, your license can be suspended pending trial and you may face other legal consequences.
Refuse Blood Tests Without a Warrant
If the officer wants to take a blood sample to see if you are legally drunk, ask if you are under arrest. If the officer doesn’t arrest you on the spot, ask to see the warrant. Refuse to take the test without a warrant or being placed under arrest.
In some cases, the officer may read a disclosure informing you of your rights when being accused of a crime. Stand firm in your insistence that you need to see the warrant if you are read this paper without being arrested.
Taking some of these steps will strip the officer of his or her ability to establish probable cause for an arrest. In some cases, he or she may arrest you anyway to force the issue of getting you tested. If that happens, don’t worry. Just call your attorney and be confident in your knowledge that the police won’t be able to hold you and that you will incur minimal damage to your reputation.
For a free initial consultation with a Beloit Bankruptcy Law or Rockford Bankruptcy Law attorney, contact The Fitzgerald Law Firm today. We recognize that not everyone is capable of meeting during traditional business hours—let us know a time that’s convenient and we’ll do our best to accommodate you.
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