Drinking and driving is never a good idea. If you’ve had alcoholic drinks and find yourself getting pulled over, though, your next steps are important to your future defense.
You’ll often get asked basic questions from an officer: Have you been drinking? Will you step out of the car? Will you perform a voluntary standardized field sobriety test?
“The best advice I give for friends, colleagues, etc. is if you’ve had anything to drink or if you’ve been consuming THC or anything you shouldn’t have been consuming within the last, really, 12 or more hours and the officer asks if you’ve been consuming, the first thing you ought to do is ask to speak to an attorney,” said Jonathan Dichter, founding attorney of DUI Heroes.
The officer may not allow you to talk to an attorney at that moment, but this can stop you from saying too much.
“The last thing you want to do is start trying to convince the officer that you’re okay because you may not be able to,” Dichter said.
A standardized field sobriety test is voluntary and may be hard to complete well for those who have balance issues, back problems, are significantly overweight, and more. Dichter advises to refuse the test.
“You’re going to be under a heightened amount of stress no matter what,” Dichter said. “You’re not going to be performing your best.”
If you refuse the field sobriety test, an officer will often offer a preliminary breath test. These are also voluntary, and Dichter advises to refuse this as well.
“The good news there is you haven’t given a lot of evidence against yourself between the field sobriety test and portable breath test. The bad news is, you’re probably going to get arrested.”
This will then lead to an official breath test at the station where Dichter advises those arrested to ask to speak to a lawyer at that time.
“It’s really crucial,” Dichter said. “Don’t say anything. Try to get a hold of somebody like me as quickly as possible so we can protect you.”
DUI Heroes is a boutique law firm focused exclusively on DUI and DUI-related charges. To learn more, visit the DUI Heroes website.