Getting pulled over by the police can be a stressful experience, particularly if they suspect you of driving under the influence. It is essential to remember that your actions and words during this encounter can significantly impact the outcome.
If you find yourself in such a situation, there are certain mistakes you must avoid to prevent exacerbating the situation.
Arguing with the officer
Stay calm and cooperate with the officer. It is important to remember that arguing or becoming combative will not help your situation. Instead, it can escalate the situation and lead to additional charges.
Admitting to drinking
If the officer asks if you have been drinking, avoid admitting to it. It is not lying; it is exercising your right to remain silent. The courts can later use your admission against you, so it is best to avoid saying anything.
Refusing a breath test without understanding the consequences
If you refuse to take a breath test in Virginia, you can face automatic penalties due to implied consent laws. If you refuse to take the test, the police can arrest and charge you for your refusal, which will be separate from your DUI. Additionally, you will automatically lose your driver’s license for a year without the possibility of getting a restricted license. Understand the potential consequences before you decide to refuse a breath test.
Performing poorly in field sobriety tests
Field sobriety tests are difficult, and many people fail them even when sober. If you have any physical condition that might affect your performance, inform the officer. You have the right to refuse these tests.
Consenting to a vehicle search
You have the right to refuse a vehicle search unless the officer has a search warrant or probable cause. Politely refuse if the officer asks for your permission to search the vehicle.
Knowing what to do during a DUI stop can make a significant difference in the outcome. You have certain rights, and it is important that you use them to avoid making things worse when the police pull you over.