What to do if you get pulled over for a DUI

By James Parker
February 16, 2022

You’ve been pulled over for what you assume is a DUI (driving under the influence), and you need to know what to do fast. Here’s a quick guide on what you should do.

1. Pull your car over to a safe area carefully

If you’re driving down the road and suddenly hear a police car’s sirens and see the flashing lights, you immediately pull over. It does not matter whether you’re innocent, guilty, or unsure, pulling your car over is the best way to start out on the right foot with the officer.

Just be sure to slow the car down gradually and pull over to a safe area on the side of the highway or road. Remember, the way you respond from the moment the sirens go on until the end of the encounter, you are making an impression on the cop and he or she is deciding how to react based on this information.

2. Be as polite as possible to the officer

This one is easier said than done, but although you may not feel calm at all, there are ways for you to appear calm, and this can help your situation.

  • Take a deep breath and exhale slowly. In through your nose and out through your mouth. You’ll be surprised at how much this exercise actually calms you down.
  • Turn off the car and gently place both hands on the upper half of the steering wheel, emphasis on gently. This will show the officer that you intend to cooperate and don’t want any trouble.
  • Smile. It does not have to be an extra large smile. It can even be a smirk. But this will help you calm down as well, and every little bit helps.

3. Don’t incriminate yourself by offering extra information

Answer the officer’s questions directly, do not veer from the question, and don’t offer any additional information. For example, if the officer asks if you have been drinking, just say yes or no; do not say how many drinks you’ve had.

On the other hand…

4. Don’t lie or make up stories

Don’t try to make yourself look good by lying. Chances are the cop will ask you to get out of the vehicle and smell the alcohol on you if they haven’t already, so be sure to tell the honest truth - nothing more and nothing less.

5. We recommend not doing a field sobriety or breathalyzer test

Once the officer asks you to step out of the vehicle, they will most likely ask you to do the standardized Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs) - which includes a gaze nystagmus test, walk and turn test, and one-leg stance test. We recommend not doing these because although this will allow the officer to arrest you, you will most likely not pass them to the officers’ satisfaction and he will arrest you anyways, so better to not do them and not incriminate yourself further.

We also recommend not taking the brehtalyzer test, which can only hurt you. Either way you will most likely be arrested, but if you refuse the test your license will be revoked for a smaller amount of days and you won’t have the criminal record, but if you do the brethalyzer test, you will likely have your license revoked for a larger amount of time plus receive a criminal record. Better to hedge your bets.

6. Record everything you can remember about the incident

After your arrest you will likely face trial, so it’s important that as soon as possible after the incident you find a way to record and remember as many details as possible about that day, regardless of how small or large it may be. If an officer makes even a small error with the details the judge can throw the case out. Just be sure to write it all down ASAP!

7. Find a lawyer ASAP

You have a race against the clock to find an attorney that will represent you in court, so make sure it’s someone you feel you can trust and feel confident with. We have tons of local DUI lawyers who specialize in cases just like yours, so find one here now.


*Disclaimer: Attorney At Law does not represent all lawyers in all states. There may be differences of opinion. It’s always advisable to consult with an attorney when in a legal situation.

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