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What Should I Have Done?


Many people have misconceptions about what they should do when they get pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence.

Often, clients will relay their stories to me about getting pulled over. More often than not, I’ll let them know that what they did during the stop was not the best course of action, and then they’ll ask, “Well, what should I have done?”

1. Take a deep breath and remain calm. Don’t give law enforcement any more reason to be suspicious.

2. Roll down the window about two inches to speak to the officer and, if necessary, hand him your license, registration and proof of insurance. This makes it difficult for officer to claim that they smelled alcohol on your breath.

3. Do not volunteer any information. If the officer asks if you know why he pulled you over, simply respond with “Can I help you with something officer?”

4. If you are asked to exit your vehicle, do so in a respectful manner. Do not say anything. Remove the keys from the ignition. Close and lock the doors behind you. If the officer asks why you have locked the doors, respond that it is merely force of habit.

5. If the officer asks to search your vehicle, state that you do not and will not consent to any searches, and you have nothing further to say until I speak with my attorney.

6. If the officer asks if you have been drinking, state that you respectfully decline to answer any questions without the advice of your counsel. Again, do not volunteer any information. Do not tell the officer where you are going and where you are coming from.

7. If the officer requests to see your license, registration, proof of insurance or any other documents, you must provide these to the officer.

8. The officer may request that you submit to tests to determine if you are intoxicated. These tests are field sobriety tests, field breath tests, station breath tests, or station blood tests. You must submit to a chemical test if requested by law enforcement. Therefore, you should only submit to the station breath test. If the officer request that you submit to a test, state that you will not take any field sobriety tests, but that you will be happy to submit to a breath test at the station if it is necessary.

9. Remember to be polite and do not lie. Never physically resist.

Remember, you are protecting your rights!

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