10 Things To Know If You Are Pulled Over After Having a Few Drinks

01 Dec 16

One of the most frequent questions that we are asked is “what should I do if I am pulled over and I have been drinking?” Our advice is always to never drink and drive but we acknowledge that sometimes people make mistakes. Also, it is not illegal to have a glass of wine with dinner or a beer at the game and later drive a vehicle.

While it is always cheaper to take a cab or an Uber, it is important to understand that innocent people are sometimes charged with DWI. So are guilty people. Regardless, everyone should know their rights if they find themselves pulled over after drinking alcohol.

  1. When you see the police officer’s emergency lights you should immediately turn on your blinker and pull over to the right hand side of the road. Put your car in park and wait for the officer to approach you.
  2. Have your license, proof of insurance, and proof of registration ready to present to the police officer. If you have difficulty locating these items or have trouble handing them to the officer, this may be used later as proof of intoxication.
  3. Be polite. Being rude to the officer will only make things worse and being argumentative or combative is often noted as a sign of intoxication.
  4. If the officer asks if you have been drinking, politely inform the officer that you prefer not to answer any questions without your attorney being present. The majority of our clients admitted to the officer that they had consumed at least 2 alcoholic beverages. Police officers will often use this admission to drinking as a basis for probable cause to continue with their DWI investigation such as asking you to perform field sobriety tests and/or to take a breath test.
  5. If you are asked to exit your vehicle, try to avoid using the door or the side of the car to balance yourself.
  6. There are 2 types of breath tests. One is known as a portable breath test (PBT). A PBT is just what it sounds like. It is a handheld breath testing device that an officer carries with them as opposed to a traditional breathalyzer that is typically located at the police station. Oftentimes an officer will ask you to take a PBT at the scene. THIS TEST IS VOLUNTARY. Missouri courts have held that PBTs are unreliable and that the exact BAC result cannot be admitted as evidence. The result, however, can be used in a DUI trial to show whether or not you tested positive for alcohol. If you are asked to submit to take a PBT and you have been drinking, you should confirm with the officer that the test is in fact voluntary and then politely refuse.
  7. You do not have to take field sobriety tests. As part of a DWI investigation you will probably be asked to perform a number of field sobriety tests. Examples of these tests are being asked to walk an imaginary line, stand on one leg, or recite a portion of the alphabet. You do not have to perform these tests. Remember, all of these things can later be used as evidence of your intoxication. If you are asked to take a field sobriety test it might be a good idea to politely refuse to take these tests and tell the officer that you need to speak with an attorney first.
  8. If you are arrested for DWI/DUI, the police officer will want you to submit to a breath or blood test. Before doing so, the officer is required to read you Missouri Implied Consent warnings which inform you of refusing to submit to a test of your breath or blood for alcohol. What the officer is not required to tell you is that you are entitled to 20 minutes to contact an attorney. Make sure that you ask 20 minutes to contact a DWI attorney! Also, be careful that the telephone line you use to contact your attorney is not being recorded by the police. If there is a sign posted by the phone stating that the call is being recorded, be sure to tell your lawyer.
  9. Should you blow? The answer is that it depends. If you haven’t had anything to drink or have had very little, then you will probably want to take the test. If you have had too much to drink then you really need to use the aforementioned 20 minutes to contact an attorney because the consequences of refusing can vary dramatically based on the location where you are arrested and the facts surrounding the arrest.
  10. If you are ultimately arrested for DWI there are a number of strict deadlines that immediately arise. For example, you may have as few as 15 days to stay the suspension of your driver’s license. Therefore, it is important to contact an experienced Missouri DWI lawyer who can explain your rights and who understands this complex area of law.

The experienced DWI lawyers at The Lampin Law Firm have over 150 years of combined legal experience and have helped thousands of people who are facing DWI/DUI charges in St. Charles, St. Louis, and throughout the state of Missouri. If you or a loved one has been arrested for DWI, or any crime, contact us today at (636) 229-9999 to arrange a free consultation.

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