Upon being pulled over for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), you find yourself in a very serious situation. Do not make the situation worse. Complying with the officer's requests is a must, but you should also avoid incriminating yourself. Thoroughly understanding the proper way to conduct yourself during a traffic stop helps prevent a host of additional legal troubles.
Put Your Emergency Lights On And Slow Down
The minute you see the flashing lights of the police car and hear the siren, turn on your flashing emergency lights and decrease your speed. Doing so sends a clear signal you are intending to stop.
If the officer tells you to stop the car immediately via a loudspeaker, comply immediately even if you are in a traffic lane. The officer will guide you into a preferable lane if he/she feels doing so is necessary.
Ultimately, you want eliminate any suspicion that you are intending to flee the scene.
Invoke Your Right To Remain Silent
Once you are pulled over, you have to handle the interaction with the officer wisely.
Police officers may ask very innocuous questions such as "Do you know why you have been pulled over?" or "Have you been drinking?" These are, quite honestly, fair questions for the officer to ask. The problem is your answers can eventually cause legal headaches. If you answer "You probably pulled me over for swerving" or "Yes, I was drinking at a bar" then you have just incriminated yourself.
Invoke your right to remain silent instead.
Avoid Answering For The Officer
Answering "No, I do not know why I was pulled over" is really a truthful answer. You do not know the exact reason why. You may think you were pulled over for swerving, but you really were pulled over for failure to use a turn signal. The admission of swerving could lead to an additional charge for reckless driving.
Respectfully Decline To Answer Incriminating Questions
There is a correct and an incorrect way to invoke your right to remain silent. The right way is to do so respectfully.
Being standoffish or rude to the officer is not going to help matters. Mention to the officer you want to cooperate but, due to the potential seriousness of the situation, you would prefer not to answer any questions.
Eventually, if arrested, you will have your day in court. Whether that day is in criminal or traffic court, you want to make things easy for yourself and the representing attorney, such as Follender Law Offices, P.L.L.C. Handling the initial stop properly could definitely make the hearing a lot easier.
I'll be up front: I have a criminal record. As someone who's spent lots--and lots--of time looking for a job in my life, I've gotten used to being up front with this fact. It's difficult to get hired with this on my record, and frankly, it never gets less scary to have to tell an interviewer about it. But that doesn't mean I'm unemployable. I'm a hard worker who can bring a lot to any company. And I also know what an employer needs to do for me. I know my rights. There's no federal law protecting me from discrimination due to my record, but there are plenty of state laws that make it a little easier for me. If you're looking for a job and you have a criminal record, read through this information. Protect yourself during a job search. Know your rights.