It is the end of the week and you decide to go out to the local bar with a few of your buddies. Your plan is to have a few drinks and eventually drive home. Instead, you end up staying a little bit later than you originally thought you would and have a few extra drinks. Since you feel fine, you decide to hop in your car and head back to your place.
All of sudden you see the police lights come on in the rearview mirror. Naturally, you are extremely nervous. You know the penalty for a DWI would negatively affect your life. This is the type of situation where it is crucial that you know your rights and how to properly handle the impending confrontation with the police officer.
Be careful what you say
Talking to a police officer can be challenging. You are probably nervous and may feel obligated to supply more information than you actually need to. It is important to remember that you understand that anything you say can affect you in the future. Naturally, you do not want to say anything that will incriminate you.
If the officer suspects that you have been driving under the influence, he or she will search for probable cause by asking you questions. These questions will attempt to get you to volunteer information about the situation that could hurt your case in the future if the officer places you under arrest. It is important be polite, tell the truth and treat the officer with respect, but be careful about the amount of information you decide to relay to the police.
Officer is watching you
From the moment that the police officer turns on the lights signaling you to pull over to the side of the road, he or she is keeping an eye on you. The police will begin watching the way you pull your car over and keep an eye on your mannerisms throughout your conversation. Officers will look at your eyes for signs of intoxication and watch to see if you do anything suspicious that may imply that you are guilty of driving under the influence.
It is important that you remain calm and conduct yourself professionally. You do not want to make any sudden movements or do anything else to suggest that you are doing something illegal. It may be in your best interest to simply sit in your seat with your hands on the wheel so that you do not accidentally suggest something negative to the officer.
You can refuse field sobriety testing
If your conversation with the officer leads to the belief that you are drunk driving, he or she may ask you to perform a field sobriety test. It is extremely important that you know that you are not under any legal obligation to comply with this request. In fact, it is probably in your best interest to refuse the test.
Field sobriety tests give the officer an opportunity collect more information. Performing a test unsuccessfully could provide the police with more evidence against you. Field sobriety tests, if used correctly by the officer, are correct 82% of the time. Therefore, it makes very little sense for you to take part given that doing so cannot improve the situation much if at all.