By Adam Ferraresi, December 27, 2018
The lights are flashing behind you, and you are required to pull over. It might seem casual when you’re just thinking about it, but it can be a terrifying experience in reality. While you need to find an experienced car accident lawyer to help you with the process, there are things you can do on your own to put yourself in an advantageous position right from the start.
What to Do When You’re Pulled Over
- Slow your vehicle down, show the signal and then pull over as soon as the officer turns on their emergency lights.
- Put your car in park mode and turn the engine off. All of these are important as they show your capability to drive.
- Roll down both the driver’s and passenger’s windows. The officer may approach your vehicle from either of them.
- Make sure that both of your hands rest firmly on the steering wheel where the officer will be able to see them. It is for their safety that you should do this and to avoid any potentially fatal misunderstandings.
- Hand over your driver’s license, car registration and proof of car insurance to the driver. Always have these documents readily available in an easy-to-reach place.
- Address the officer respectfully as sir or madam. Always remember to be polite.
- Do not converse with the officer and answer all of their questions. They will want to know where you are coming from if you’ve had a drink, how much you’ve drunk and so on. Do not answer. They will record your answers and any inconsistencies in them, and these will be used against you in a court of law.
- Do not argue with the officer or lie to them. Instead, say that you do not wish to answer any questions and add a firm but polite “thank you” at the end.
What to Do If You’re Asked to Take a Field Test
- Do not get out of your vehicle if the officer asks you to do so.
- Do not agree to any field sobriety tests. The same goes for a breathalyzer test. These are voluntary tests, and you have every right to refuse them. They are subjective and can be skewed in many ways by the officer. Give them a firm but polite “No, thank you.”
What to Do If You’re Arrested
- Do not argue with the officer. Cooperate with the officer. You will not win the argument, and the officer will record everything you say. Keep your mouth shut.
- Do not engage in conversation with the officer on the way to the station. They will record everything you say and even indicate if they can catch the odor of alcohol and other drugs on your breath. They will also note any slurred speech.
- Ask to talk to an attorney as soon as you are in the police car and also as soon as you arrive in the police station.
What to Do at the Police Station
- Remember to ask for an attorney. You can speak to your own lawyer or find one in a phone book. You can even speak to the on-call public defender.
- Ask the officers for privacy. You have the right to ask the officer to leave the room for some privacy.
- Do not answer any questions at the police station. You have a right to remain silent.
- Ask the officer to advise you of your rights if you do not fully understand them.
- Take the breath test at the station. It is generally a good idea since you could get your license suspended for a year or more if you refuse the test. You also have the right to ask for additional tests over and above the breath test.
- Do not sign anything when you’re at the station except the ticket for the DUI and the Driver’s Hearing Request Form.
- Write everything down that happened as soon as you get home while you can still remember most of the details.
- Contact an attorney and get some legal advice.