As any DUI lawyer in Long Island knows, this area has become notorious for drunk driving incidents. A little more than a decade ago, Suffolk County was one of the worst areas in all of New York State for alcohol-related crashes. In 2007, there were over 1,000 drunk driving accidents in our county. While a lot of legislation has been passed since then — including Leandra’s Law, which classifies any alcohol-related offenses involving a child younger than 16 years old in a vehicle as class E felonies — drunk driving is still a major problem in this area.
As a result, local police have made a concerted effort to catch drunk drivers and keep the public safe. That makes it a lot more likely that you could be pulled over on suspicion of a DUI. Although you should make every effort to never get behind the wheel while intoxicated, you should also try to remember what to do — and what not to do — if you are indeed stopped by police. By following these tips, you’ll be able to work with your DUI lawyers to ensure your rights are protected.
When Stopped For a DUI, Do…
- Be respectful: As a general rule, always be respectful to the officer pulling you over. Acting defiant or belligerent in any way will not help you and will make it harder for your DUI lawyers to create a viable DUI defense in court. Follow all instructions from the officer and do not mouth off. While you are not obligated to say or do certain things, this interaction should be civil in every way.
- Have documents ready: If you’re pulled over, you should have your driver’s license, registration, and insurance information handy in a location you can easily access. Make sure you have these documents at the ready at all times (and that you know where they are!). You should have them out on the passenger seat to present to the officer when he comes up to your vehicle.
- Stay in the car: Unless you are instructed otherwise by the officer, you should remain in your vehicle. Permitting you pull over to a safe spot, you should put your car in park, turn on your interior dome light, and place both hands on the wheel where the officer can see them. Do not make any sudden moves or act suspiciously in any way.
If Pulled Over For Drunk Driving, Don’t…
- Volunteer too much: As mentioned earlier, you should be courteous to police officers. You should not, however, volunteer unnecessary information or go into too much detail. You are not obligated to answer any questions before you are arrested and without your attorney present. Thinking you can talk yourself out of a situation like this will likely result in providing the officers more information to use against you.
- Lie or underestimate: An officer will likely ask you whether you’ve been drinking and/or how much you’ve had to drink. You might assume that underplaying the situation will help you, but the “I’ve had only one beer” route really isn’t a good one. It confirms that you have alcohol in your system (no matter how little). Instead, you can politely decline to answer or state that you can’t remember. You should not be combative, but it’s best that you don’t provide them with verbal ammunition.
- Submit to roadside exercises: Some DUI lawyers disagree, but generally, partaking in those sobriety exercises will just make matters worse. You may have to submit to a breathalyzer in some cases, but other tests given by officers prior to arrest aren’t likely to have a positive outcome for the driver — even if they have a legal BAC. While most states have implied consent laws, that doesn’t mean you’re forced to walk in a straight line down the road. These tests are strictly voluntary, so you may want to exercise your rights here.
Whether you’re dealing with a minor traffic violation or are facing a DUI charge, you should have a reputable lawyer on your side to help you through this process. To find out more, please contact us today.