What to Do If You Are Pulled Over for Drunk DrivingComments Off on What to Do If You Are Pulled Over for Drunk Driving
Facing driving under the influence (DUI) charges can be daunting, and if a Washington police officer pulls you over on suspicion of this crime, you may not know what to do next. There are certain actions you can take to protect yourself and your rights, and there are also actions that could harm your future case.
You can use the following steps to remain calm and seek help if the police stop you for drunk driving. When in doubt, you should always contact a Tacoma DUI lawyer after an arrest.
Step #1: Pull Over and Remain Calm
The very first step you should take if a police officer asks you to pull over is to comply with his or her orders. Find a safe location to stop, and pull over as far to the right as possible. Turn off your engine, and remain in your vehicle unless the officer asks you to exit the vehicle.
When the police officer approaches you, he or she will generally come to your driver’s side window and ask you for your license and registration. Do not retrieve these documents until the officer asks to see them — he or she may not know what you are doing if he or she sees you reaching for objects inside of the vehicle. Keep your hands on the steering wheel where the officer can see them, and avoid making any sudden movements.
Step #2: Remember Your Right to Remain Silent
Although you may feel like you have not done anything wrong, remaining civil and cooperative during a traffic stop is in your best interest. These situations can easily escalate if any arguments arise, which can harm your future case if the officer decides to arrest and charge you.
Remember, you also have the right to remain silent — you do not have to answer the questions the officer gives you as long as you comply with his or her orders. While you may want to comply with the officer, giving too much information could harm your future case. Stay silent and do not answer any questions that could contribute to the evidence against you.
Step #3: Contact a Lawyer
If you are facing charges for DUI, you need an attorney on your side who can protect your legal rights and defend you against these accusations. Hiring a lawyer provides several benefits, including the following.
- Your lawyer will understand the Washington criminal justice system and know the latest laws, rules, and penalties surrounding DUI. He will also know what rights you hold during this process, and can help you protect them.
- Your attorney will have a track record of successful DUI cases that result in dismissal, reduced charges, and smaller penalties. He or she will fight tenaciously for your best possible outcome.
- An attorney can also help you minimize the time you spend in the courtroom. DUI trials can be serious and stressful, and your attorney can evaluate your best options to see if you can avoid the court.
As soon as you can, request to speak with a lawyer after the arrest. If the police deny your request, continue to ask for your lawyer and do not answer any questions until your attorney arrives. The single most important step you can take is to protect yourself during this process, and your lawyer will understand your rights, the charges against you, and what you need to do next.