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DUI, Driving Under The Influence

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DUI: What to do when stopped, and you have been drinking. First, be prepared!  Have your current insurance card and registration in an easily accessible (driver’s door pocket) in a location easy to reach, and your license ready to give to the police officer as he approaches your vehicle. Keep your hands visible, on the steering wheel. Police are trained to look for fumbling, delay or other problems in providing the insurance, registration and driver’s license as possible signs of intoxication. They are also looking for the odor of alcohol, so only lower the window half way, and extend your license, registration and insurance card out the window. Smile, be nice. Police are looking for signs of nervousness.

Hall’s mentho-lyptus cough drops help mask the odor of alcohol (www.gethalls.com/products/halls/halls_df.aspx). Put one in your mouth, bite in half, chew half, suck slowly the other half. The symptoms of a head cold mirror the indicia of intoxication (bloodshot and watery eyes). Talk as little as possible (slurred speech). Never admit to drinking. Do not agree to perform the Roadside Sobriety maneuvers, sober people don’t pass these!  You are nervous, and will only give the police officer probable cause to arrest you. Just say “No, thank you.” Do not explain, or engage in conversation. Be polite, but stand your ground. Do not do the Portable Breath Test (PBT), also known as a Preliminary Breath Test. You are not required to submit to this by law, and it is not accurate enough to be admissible in Court. The police officer may threaten to arrest if you do not submit to the roadside maneuvers and the PBT – do not consent, stand your ground. Submitting only gives the police officer evidence against you. Be polite, and only say: “no, thank you.”  DO NOT SAY ANYTHING ABOUT EVIDENCE. Any statement you voluntarily make can and will be used against you.

If the police officer invokes the EXPRESSED CONSENT law, and offers the choice between a breath test or blood test, you must choose one, or lose your license for a year. The blood test tends to be more reliable, and takes longer, but there is also more chance of error and time delay, which work in your favor. You can refuse the test, but will lose your license for a year, whereas first time offenders lose their license for 1 month of no driving, then 8 months of restricted driving.

Clearly, it is better to not drink and drive, as the consequences are severe if caught. Pay attention to driving, and do not play with your phone or stereo. Do not eat or be distracted by anything. Keep your attention on the road, and obey all traffic laws – no speeding, and use your turn signals. Complete stops at all stop signs. Do not give the police officer any reason to pull you over. Make sure to periodically check that your lights and turn signals are functioning properly before driving. Check that the light over your license plate is working. Do not give the police any reason for contact.