Anybody that has every been pulled over by the police knows that feeling when you see a police car behind you activate its lights.  Your stomach sinks and your heart begins pounding.  You will probably be even more nervous if you’ve had a couple of drinks when the police officer pulls you over.  The first thing you need to remember is to keep calm.  There a few steps that you can follow to help the process go smoothly and put your nerves at ease.

Pull over in a safe location and manner.  For example, do not stop in the middle of a busy intersection.  Do not continue to drive for an extended period of time before pulling over.  If you do either of these, the officer will already think you may be under the influence before even making contact with you.

Keep your driver’s license in an easily accessible place.  If you fumble through your wallet searching and have difficulty locating it a police officer may mistake your nerves and anxiousness for being intoxicated.  The same is true for your proof of insurance and your vehicle registration.  If you are like the majority of people, you shove your insurance and registration somewhere in you glove compartment.  However, by keeping them in a known and easily accessible location, it will calm your nerves when you are able to quickly locate them at the officer’s request.

If the officer claims he smells alcohol or asks if you’ve had a couple drinks, he may ask you to step out of the car to perform the field sobriety exercises.  These exercises are subjective in nature.  Meaning, they are not pass or fail.  There is no standardized set of criteria that the officers use to grade your performance on them.  The officer will either have the opinion you performed well on them or that you performed poorly on them.  Since these field sobriety exercises are subjective in nature and voluntary, you can politely decline to perform them.  At this point the officer must advise you of a negative consequence in order to hold your refusal to perform them against you.   The officer will then decide whether or not to arrest you.

If the officer decides to make an arrest, do not fight with him and do not run from him.  Do not make any statements other than ask for your attorney.  The decision to arrest you at this point has already been made and you are not going to talk your way out of it so do not try.  You will be taken to the county jail and asked to blow.  Politely decline to give a breath sample.  There is no reason to provide a breath sample because you are already under arrest and even if you blow under the legal limit you will not be unarrested or released.  Furthermore, you’re told that your driver’s license will be suspended if you refusal to blow, a DUI lawyer can help you fight the suspension.

You will be released from custody in about eight hours.  Call Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh at (561)295-5825.  We have three former prosecutors that regularly handle DUI cases.