Even if you intend never to drink and drive, you may eventually find yourself beside the road with flashing lights in your rearview mirror. Alternatively, during your drive home from a night on the town, you may encounter a sobriety checkpoint.
Either way, an arrest and conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol may expose you to serious legal penalties and life consequences. Because DUI stops can be stressful events, you may want to do three things before your stop to help you maintain some control over the situation.
1. Find the contact information for an attorney
Officers often use the legal ignorance of DUI suspects to gain an unfair advantage. Therefore, before your stop, find the contact information for an attorney you trust and put it into both your phone and wallet. Then, if officers stop you, you have a way to reach out for legal counsel.
2. Understand field sobriety and breath tests
An officer’s subjective statements about you may not hold up in court, so the one who stops you may ask you to perform a field sobriety test or breathe into a testing device. You should know that there is no requirement to perform field sobriety tests in Pennsylvania, and no penalty for refusal. However, failure to submit to a breath test does mean the suspension of your driver’s license.
3. Know your legal rights
One of the first questions an officer is likely to ask you is whether you have been drinking. You do not have to answer this question, as you have a right not to incriminate yourself. Remaining silent and asking for an attorney may prevent you from saying something incriminating. You should not lie to officers, however.
With some planning and a bit of luck, you may never have to deal with a DUI stop. Nevertheless, by practicing your response to one in advance, you may boost your odds of avoiding trouble.