If you’re driving home from a night out with friends and you’ve had a couple drinks, or even if you’re completely sober, seeing the red lights of a police cruiser flashing in your rearview mirror can be terrifying. A sheer sense of dread may come over you and you may be at a loss for what to do moving forward. Well, we’ve got a few tips for you.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Getting Pulled Over for a DWI
- Don’t panic. We don’t just say that for your health. As soon as an officer pulls you over on suspicion of drunk driving, he or she is already filing a mental offense report, which could be presented in a hearing. The first note the officer will make is how you pull your vehicle over, so don’t slam the breaks or drive erratically.
- Do find a safe place to calmly pull over. Gradually slow down, use your turn signals and pull off to the median. Keep your hands at the wheel until the officer approaches and don’t make sudden movements.
- Don’t answer any questions other than your name, current address and handing over your proof of insurance. Do not engage in any conversation with the police officers, even if they seem cordial or their questions seem harmless. Police are trained to “look beyond the stop.” Meaning while they are asking seemingly innocent questions, they are actually looking for signs you’ve been drinking or are hiding something.
- Do smile for the camera and be polite. Any footage and dialogue recorded during your traffic stop can be used against you. Would you rather have a jury witness you acting rude and defensive or calm and polite? In response to any questions the officer has, such as what bar you were at or how may drinks you’ve had, simply tell the officer you would like to have an attorney present for questions or would like to exercise your right to remain silent (respectfully, of course).
- Don’t consent to a field sobriety tests. In Texas, you are not legally required to perform any type of field sobriety tests or blow into a hand-held breathalyzer.
- Do request your attorney be present for any tests, unless you are 100 percent sure you can pass a breathalyzer (meaning, you’ve had zero drinks).
Contact a Dallas DWI Attorney Immediately to Help Avoid Conviction
If you are completely sober and have had absolutely nothing to drink, it may be more beneficial in the long run to answer police questions and comply with their requests, such as blowing into a breathalyzer. But only if pulling you over was all just an honest mistake and you will 100 percent pass.
Otherwise, at this point, you may want to come to terms with the fact that if you are refusing a breathalyzer test, it is likely you will be put under arrest. If it does come to that, remain polite (you’re still on camera!) Now, your biggest concern is avoiding a DWI conviction.
When the officer reads your rights, mention wanting an attorney present and then remain silent. Once released, write everything you can remember down and immediately contact a Dallas DWI attorney. The sooner you do, the sooner your attorney can challenge your driver’s license suspension and work to build your case.
The Goolsby Law Firm is a Dallas criminal defense law firm that helps those arrested for drunk driving. We haven’t lost a case in more than 15 years and we don’t intent to start now.