What to Do If You Get Stopped for a DWI
Obeying the law, using common sense, and careful adherence to the rules of the road can help prevent you from arousing the suspicions of law enforcement while on the road. Even still, you may be pulled over and asked questions by police to determine your sobriety. The recommendations below are not a substitute for legal assistance with a DWI lawyer, however they may help you protect your rights and feel prepared for a future stop. Our DWI law firm in Austin is trained to help clients understand the legal specifics of their case.
Step 1: Pull over at the next safe opportunity
It’s important to comply with being pulled over as quickly as possible. By the time an officer initiates the stop, they have already begun noting observations about your driving or other signs that you may be drunk or impaired. They will monitor the manner in which you pull over; whether it’s abrupt, in an unsafe location, or erratic.
Step 2: Engage politely
Communicate with police officers in a civil manner and avoid making any sudden or suspicious movements. Police are trained to respond quickly to dangerous situations; keeping your hands on the steering wheel will help officers see that you are not a threat.
Step 3: Refuse to incriminate yourself
During a stop you are obligated to give your name, license, registration, and insurance information to the officer. However, if you are asked if you have been drinking, or any other potentially incriminating question, it is your right to not respond. You are not under any legal obligation to perform a field sobriety test or to use a hand-held breathalyzer. Though your license may be suspended and/or you may be arrested if you refuse, it’s better to have avoided incriminating yourself.
Step 4: Take a chemical test at the station
If you are taken to the police station, you are legally obligated to take a chemical test. Depending on your area, you could be presented with the option to choose a breath or blood test. A breath test is typically easier to dismiss in court due to their unreliability, so this may be the best option when available.
Step 5: Record your experience
Once you are released, begin writing down everything you remember from your arrest. Memories written down while fresh are more credible in court, so don’t delay making your notes. Try to be as detailed as possible in your notes, as even the most mundane information may become critical later on. Ask yourself these questions:
BEFORE BEING PULLED OVER
- Where were you driving?
- How much did you have to drink? What were you drinking?
- By the time you were pulled over, how long had it been since your last drink?
INTERACTIONS WITH POLICE
- Where were you pulled over?
- What did the officer ask you to do? How did you respond?
- Were your Miranda rights read to you? When?
- If you took the chemical test, how long had it been since your last drink?
Contact Our DWI Lawyer in Austin
All of the criminal defense attorneys at the Law Office of Jesse Hernandez are trained on the science of blood draws and field sobriety tests. Our DWI law firm is prepared to defend you against the experts hired by the State of Texas. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation.
San Antonio Office: 3107 Broadway Street, San Antonio, Texas 78209. (210) 807-8656.
Austin Office: 2025 Guadalupe Street Suite 260, Austin, Texas 78705. (512) 982-4798.