Avoiding Legal Trouble

Know Your Rights: DWI

It's safe to say that you know it is dangerous to drive while intoxicated; however, you should also know your rights when you are pulled over because the law does not always work in your favor. Here is a list of do's and don'ts when a cop pulls a traffic stop on you in your vehicle.

1. Pulling Over

Ensure that you use your turn signal when pulling over, and make sure you choose a busy section of the highway. If you are in the middle of a deserted area and feel unsafe, you have the right to call 911, give them your location, and let them know that you are waiting to pull over until the next gas station or populated area.

2. Do Not Move

Keeping your hands on the wheel as the officer approaches the car builds a safe aura for the officer and lets him or her know that you are going to comply. Do not make any sudden movements. 

3. Keep Quiet

This doesn't seem like it would work, but you have the right to remain silent and should act that out. Even if your blood alcohol limit is at 0.00, if you tell the officer you had a drink with dinner, this is enough evidence to have you arrested. Keep your mouth shut so you do not accidentally testify against yourself. This may be difficult if the officer becomes angry, but quietly and politely refuse to answer his line of questioning.

4. Do Not Perform a Field Sobriety Test

You are never legally required to perform a field sobriety test. Field sobriety tests protect the officer and his or her case against you in court. If you are being asked to perform one, the officer has probably decided to arrest you anyway, and performing the test will only make your situation worse.

5. Refuse the Breathalyzer

Breathalyzers are notorious for having inaccurate readings and are not a legal requirement until you are arrested. 

6. If Arrested...

If you do get arrested and taken to the police station you will be required to perform a chemical test. When you agreed to receive your license, you agreed to this law. You will be able to choose between a blood test and a breath test, and many DWI lawyers advise that you choose the breath test because they are more unreliable and more likely to be thrown out as evidence in court.