You may know someone who has been stopped for a DUI. You may also know that the consequences could be drastic. The reason for this is that Arizona and all of the other states have DUI laws that were created to stop drivers from getting behind the wheel of a car after they have been drinking or consuming any substance that may impair driving abilities. The limit for alcohol related consumption in Arizona also referred to the “legal limit,” is .08%.
The best advice any law firm can offer is “do not drink and drive under any circumstance”. There is no excuse and the costs are incredibly high if you are caught and convicted. DUI fines and attorneys’ fees could be in the tens of thousands of dollars. And this does not even take into account the jail time and costs associated with loss of work, loss of license, and other related expenses. All of that being said, DUI stops do happen and the second best thing (after simply not drinking and driving) is to know exactly how to act if you are pulled over under suspicion of driving while intoxicated.
Here are six important things to know if you happen to get pulled over.
1) Stay in your car unless you are specifically asked to step out. Additionally, if you have a seat belt on, leave it on!
2) You will be asked for your driver’s license and registration. Always have these items readily available in your vehicle. How easily you are able to find these items will almost always be noted on the officer’s report. If you cannot find them, or you fumble around in your care looking for them, it could look like you have had too much to drink.
3) If asked, firmly but politely refuse to take any and all field tests. Such field sobriety assessments are: walking in a straight line, touching a finger to your nose, saying ABCs backward, holding a leg up while counting, or following a light with your eyes. Be aware that any time you participate in field testing; you are potentially giving evidence that will be used against you in your DUI case. There are no laws that require you to do any of these tests. Some officers will tell you they will take you to jail if you don’t do the tests. This is not legally true and could be challenged if you end up going to court. They were going to take you to jail anyway, so it is best to calmly let them take you, but NEVER do these tests.
4) Never allow a search of your vehicle. Many times, the officer that stops you will ask you to agree to a search of your vehicle. You have the right to say no if this is asked of you. If an officer has enough reason to get a search warrant, he or she will. If not, then why search? Simply say no if you are asked! But always be polite and never feel as though you must explain why.
5) Courteously refuse to answer any additional questions. When officers stop drivers, they will ask questions about what you have had to drink and how much you have had. The best way to respond to this question is: “I can only answer that questions with the advice of my attorney.” Please note that you do not have to call or even have attorney at that exact moment. However, such a statement usually stops any further questions by invoking your constitutional rights, If and when the officer reads your Miranda rights, the answer should always be exactly the same.
6) Always cooperate in any way that you can. Cooperation means having a pleasant and calm attitude, as well as being polite. You do not need to answer questions, complete field tests, or even talk. But you should note that your attitude, appearance, and anything you say could become part of the officer’s report. This report could be used against you, so make sure you are extremely careful. By no means should you ever crack jokes, cry, apologize to the officer, admit any wrongdoing, or confess.
Drivers in the Tempe, Arizona area and beyond have the Weingart Firm to provide the services they need for all kinds of drunk driving cases. If you or someone you know has been charged with a DUI, now is the time to act. Our aggressive and skilled team of attorneys have many years of experience in DUI law, and will work to help you fix your situation as soon as possible. Call our offices today to schedule a free case review.