Most of us probably dread that sinking feeling in our stomach spurred by seeing police lights in our rearview mirror. When you finally realize they’re after you, it’s time to consider the steps you can take to protect yourself and your legal rights.
There’s a lot that can happen during a DWI stop, but there are things anyone can do to maintain control of the situation. Here are some tips:
- Stay in your vehicle: If you stop your vehicle and get out, the officer may feel threatened. As a result, you’re putting your safety at risk. Stay seated with your hands on the wheel. Wait for the officer to arrive at your window before doing anything.
- Don’t start talking: Upon arriving at your window, you’re tempted to defend yourself. “I didn’t do anything wrong.” “Why did you pull me over?” You made a mistake. Even if these thoughts are running through your mind, don’t let them slip out. Anything you say can and probably will be used against you in the future.
- Don’t answer questions: There’s likely to come a point when the officer asks you a variety of questions, such as “where are you going” and “have you been drinking?” The more you talk, the more likely you are to slip and say the wrong thing. Stick to basic answers that don’t give the officer reason to believe you’re under the influence.
- Don’t resist arrest: It’s difficult to come to grips with the fact that you’re under arrest, but fighting back at this point isn’t going to change the officer’s mind. You’re best off following directions, keeping calm and taking mental notes about what’s happening around you.
Depending on the circumstances, the officer may let you go with a warning. However, if they have any reason to believe you’re under the influence of alcohol, it’s almost certain that they’ll arrest you on the spot.
Once you’re processed and understand your charges, you have everything you need to turn your attention toward the future. It’s at that point that you should revisit the details of your arrest, learn more about common DWI defense strategies and decide how to best protect your legal rights.