Encountering a police stop after consuming alcohol can be a distressing experience. To ensure the safety of everyone involved, it is crucial to refrain from drinking and driving. It is important to note that this article does not condone such behavior or seek to find ways to evade the law.
Nevertheless, it is not uncommon for individuals to enjoy a drink or two before driving home from a restaurant, nightclub, or bar. In such cases, it is vital to be mindful of your alcohol consumption and assess your ability to drive within legal limits.
Avoiding a DUI Stop in the First Place
Before delving into what to do if you are pulled over after drinking, it’s worth considering a precautionary measure. Did you know that you can purchase a personal breathalyzer test for your vehicle? These devices are readily available at drug stores and retail outlets such as Walmart.
By having a breathalyzer on hand, you can self-administer a test before getting behind the wheel. However, keep in mind that these tests may not always be accurate, and alcohol absorption continues even after leaving an establishment. Passing a breathalyzer test does not guarantee that you won’t surpass the legal limit during your drive. It’s prudent to avoid pushing your limits and make alternative transportation arrangements if you suspect impairment.
What Should I Do If I Am Stopped for DUI?
Now, if you find yourself pulled over by the police in Texas after consuming alcohol, here are some essential points to bear in mind:
Maintain a respectful and cooperative demeanor throughout the encounter. Remember, police officers are merely doing their job, and responding with rudeness or aggression will not yield positive results. Being unpleasant may raise suspicions about your level of intoxication and reduce the likelihood of receiving leniency.
When asked, “Do you know why I pulled you over?” Respond politely with, “No, officer, I do not.” Avoid providing any potential justification for the traffic stop. The officer’s motive could be as simple as noticing a broken tail light or a tire issue, so refrain from assuming it relates to your alcohol consumption.
Remember, while DWI/DUI checkpoints in Texas have been ruled unconstitutional, some jurisdictions will set up a checkpoint under the guise of checking insurance, etc. In this case, you will not be asked if you know why you have been stopped, as there will be a designated purpose for the checkpoint. However, this will give the law enforcement officer a chance to access if you have had too much to drink, which may lead to further inquiry.
If asked whether you have been drinking, you can choose to answer truthfully, saying “Yes.” However, it is also acceptable to inquire, “May I ask why you are asking?” It is important to maintain a calm and respectful tone during the conversation, as the officer may be recording the interaction using body cameras or dashcams.
When requested to perform a field sobriety test or take a breathalyzer, remember that you have the legal right to decline. It is crucial to remain courteous at all times.
Keep in mind that even sober individuals can face difficulties in tasks like reciting the alphabet backward or walking in a straight line along the roadside at night, particularly under the watchful eyes of a police officer. If you opt to decline the tests, you can say, “Officer, I appreciate your diligence, but I believe it is in my best interest to consult an attorney before proceeding.”
It’s important to note that refusing a field sobriety test or breathalyzer can lead to your arrest. The officer may base the arrest on observable signs of erratic driving, swerving, slurred speech, the smell of alcohol, or other factors. If you suspect that you might exceed the legal limit, it may be wiser to decline the roadside tests and accept the possibility of arrest. Should an arrest occur, cooperate fully, follow the officer’s instructions, and maintain a polite attitude.
After the arrest, you may be requested to take a blood or breath test at the police station to determine your blood-alcohol concentration (BAC). Declining the test at this stage may result in an Administrative License Revocation, leading to a temporary suspension of your driver’s license. Although inconvenient, this consequence might be preferable to a DUI/DWI conviction.
It is important to note that by refusing the test, you may only delay the inevitable, as the police could obtain a warrant for a blood test without your consent. However, this delay could provide additional time for your body to process the alcohol, potentially reducing the BAC results.
While you do not have the right to consult with an attorney between the time of your arrest and the administration of the BAC test, you can exercise your right to remain silent. Avoid answering any questions related to your arrest charges, except to express your decision to remain silent and your request to speak with an attorney. Making further statements at this point will not work to your advantage, as attempting to talk your way out of the situation is highly unlikely.
Contact a Knowledgeable Attorney
Encountering legal consequences and DWI penalties for drinking and driving can be a life-altering experience. It is crucial to exercise caution, avoid excessive alcohol consumption, and arrange alternative means of transportation to avoid the hassles associated with such incidents.
If you find yourself facing charges related to a DUI in San Antonio, Texas, it is highly recommended that you seek legal representation from a qualified attorney.
*Please note that this article provides general information and guidance regarding traffic stops, DUI/DWI charges, and related issues. It is not a substitute for personalized legal advice from an attorney. Each case is unique, and appropriate actions may vary accordingly.