DUI is prosecuted aggressively in Virginia. You must take your situation seriously if the police stop you for drunk driving. Here are important actions you need to take to protect your rights and not help the police and prosecutor convict you of DUI.
Eight Steps to Take If You’re Pulled Over for Drunk Driving
What you do when you are stopped for DUI can directly impact the Commonwealth’s case against you and the defenses you could raise to fight any charges you face. Here’s what you need to do if law enforcement officials are stopping you:
- Pull over safely. When they stop you, the police would already suspect you of violating a traffic law or DUI. You do not want to make the situation worse by driving erratically or stopping at an unsafe location. You should put on your turn signal and pull over to the side of the road as soon as you see a safe place to do so.
- Don’t make sudden movements. It is crucial that you keep your hands on the steering wheel and wait for the officer’s instructions. You should not make any sudden movements that make them feel unsafe. It could escalate your situation and put you in danger.
- Be polite. You should be polite and cooperative with dealing with the police. If you are argumentative or uncooperative, they could use force to arrest you and may charge you with other offenses, such as resisting arrest.
- Don’t make incriminating statements. You will need to provide the officer with your basic information, such as your name, driver’s license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance. However, you do not have to answer their incriminating questions. Any answers you give could be used against you in court to prove that you were driving while intoxicated.
- Don’t agree to field sobriety tests. The police officer could ask you to perform field sobriety tests. You are not required to submit to them and should not agree to take these tests. If you fail them, the results could give the police grounds to arrest you.
- Take a chemical test if you’re arrested. You are not required to submit to a breathalyzer test when you are stopped by the police. However, once you are arrested, you must take a breathalyzer or blood test at the police station. You could face additional harsh penalties if you refuse to submit to it.
- Take notes. As soon as you are able to, take notes of what happened starting from before you started driving through your arrest. The details you write down could help you develop defenses in your criminal case.
- Retain a lawyer. You should hire an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible after your arrest. They will identify the most effective defenses to raise to fight the charges you face, explain what you can expect to happen in your criminal case, and mount an aggressive defense strategy for you.
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Were you arrested for DUI in Virginia? Call our Manassas office or fill out our online form to schedule a free initial consultation to learn about your options and how our knowledgeable DUI lawyers can defend you.