If you don’t know what to do during a DUI stop, you’re not alone.
Many drivers get into legal trouble because of actions they take after a police officer has stopped them. Protect your rights and stay out of additional trouble by knowing what to avoid when you’ve been stopped for a suspected DUI in Lancaster, PA.
Don’t wait to pull over.
Slow down and get off the road as soon as it’s safe to do so. Use your turn signal to indicate to the officer that you’re complying. When you’re safely off the road, turn off the vehicle, roll down your window, locate your license and insurance information, and keep your hands on the steering wheel.
Don’t exit the vehicle unless the officer asks you to do so.
Getting out of the car on your own may cause concern for a police officer, as it can suggest you want to confront the officer or run away. Help keep the situation calm by remaining in the vehicle until an officer directs you otherwise. After you locate your license and insurance information, try not to move around a lot—the police call that “furtive movements,” and it makes them nervous.
Don’t ignore instructions from the officer.
You and your passengers should comply with all directions. Listen to the officer until they tell you it’s okay to drive away. Following instructions does not mean that you have to give up all your rights.
Don’t be rude.
Even if you disagree with the officer, keep your cool and act politely. Being rude to a police officer isn’t itself illegal, but this behavior can heighten tensions and escalate the situation. If your language moves toward threats of violence, you could be charged with disorderly conduct or resisting arrest. Remember, an experienced lawyer can always research and protect your legal rights later.
Don’t forget that you may be recorded.
With the use of police body and dash cams increasing, it’s important to understand that your interactions with officers during a DUI stop may be recorded. Information gathered from the video can be used as evidence for or against you if you’re charged.
Don’t answer questions about alcohol consumption.
During a DUI stop, it’s common for an officer to ask, “How much have you had to drink tonight?”
The safest way to answer is with this polite response: “I have no comment about drinking.”
Don’t take sobriety tests before an arrest.
This is one of the most misunderstood aspects of what to do during a DUI stop. If you’re pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence, law enforcement may ask you to take a roadside breath test or standardized field sobriety test, like the Walk and Turn Test. You are not obligated to take these assessments, so you can politely refuse them.
Don’t refuse tests after the arrest.
After an officer arrests you for DUI, they will order breath or blood tests to confirm the presence of alcohol or drugs in your system. If you refuse to take these tests following your arrest, you face increased penalties, including automatic license suspension.
Protect your rights.
Pennsylvania is imposing stricter penalties for DUI—the state recently enacted a law requiring first-time offenders in PA with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .10 or higher to install ignition interlock devices. Safeguard your rights by working with an experienced former Lancaster County prosecutor. Mark Walmer is ready to help you.