If police pull you over on the suspicion that you are intoxicated or under the influence of drugs, they have the right to take certain actions as part of their investigation. However, there are limitations on what police can do and you have rights that you can exercise. Here are some essential points to keep in mind about how to behave in the course of a DUI stop:

  • Do remain calm — Police who stop your vehicle are allowed to assess if you’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs. They can do this by observing your reactions and physical cues. The stress of getting pulled over can impact your decision-making abilities and perhaps cause you to react differently than you would otherwise. If you act erratically, the police might interpret this as drunken behavior. Stay as calm and collected as you can.
  • Don’t confess anything — Although the police have the right to question you, for example about whether you’ve been drinking, you don’t have to volunteer any information that may incriminate you. Neither should you consent to a search of your vehicle.
  • Do obey the officer’s orders — During a traffic stop for a suspected DUI, the last thing you want to do is to come off aggressive or resistant. Cooperate with the police officer and follow all instructions. This includes participating in a field sobriety test if the police choose to conduct one.
  • Don’t suggest a sobriety test —Proposing to take any test to prove you aren’t drunk is a mistake. Field sobriety tests can be difficult even if you haven’t had anything to drink, especially if you’re nervous. You might end up incriminating yourself by trying to demonstrate your innocence.
  • Don’t refuse a breathalyzer test — Your driver’s license will be automatically suspended if you refuse to take a breathalyzer test. This is because Pennsylvania drivers consent to blood-alcohol testing as a condition for having a driver’s license. If the test shows you to be intoxicated, your DUI defense attorney still may be able to challenge the results. If the police did not follow the protocol exactly as they are supposed to, it might be possible for your case to be dismissed. Breathalyzers can also be faulty, causing results to be invalidated.

If you’ve been arrested for a DUI, an experienced attorney can evaluate the facts of your case to see if the charges can be reduced or dismissed. Pennsylvania lawyer Matthew R. Zatko represents people charged with DUIs throughout Somerset, Indiana, Bedford and Cambria counties. For a consultation, call 814-443-1631 or contact me online.