What to Do if You’re Pulled Over for DUI

Posted on May 6th, 2020 by Laura Peters

Getting pulled over for DUI, even if you haven’t been drinking, can be a nerve-wracking experience. It’s always best to know what your rights are and how you should proceed before you’re actually in that position. Ideally, you would contact an attorney like the experienced criminal defense attorneys in Cook County, Illinois at Giannola Legal LLC to get advice about your specific situation. But, since it isn’t always possible to contact a lawyer while the police pull you over, the following lists contain general recommendations about how to handle a DUI stop.

Do:

  • Pull your vehicle over immediately
    • Don’t try to outrun the police; it will only lead to more serious criminal charges against you. As soon as you know the police are trying to stop you, pull your vehicle over safely.
  • Cooperate with the police
    • Remain polite and respectful towards the police. It may be tempting to argue or lose your temper, but the police may use that as evidence that you were belligerently drunk.
  • Assert your right to speak with an attorney
    • If the police ask for any information from you beyond the basic (license and registration), respectfully tell the officer that you don’t feel comfortable answering any additional questions without your lawyer.

Do Not:

  • DO NOT Make any statements or answer any questions
    • If you refuse to answer the officer’s questions, he/she will probably try to pressure you into answering anyway. Don’t let that pressure force you into answering the officer’s questions. People frequently think they can talk their way out of a DUI, but once an officer suspects you of DUI, it is extremely unlikely that you will avoid arrest no matter what you do. Be polite, be calm, be courteous, and simply say you are not comfortable answering any questions without your attorney present. Sometimes information that seems innocent can still be used against you, so your lawyer can help make sure you don’t accidentally incriminate yourself.
  • DO NOT Perform any Field Sobriety Tests
    • The police will likely ask you to do Field Sobriety Tests, designed to test your coordination, when they stop you for DUI. Police and prosecutors generally only have the evidence that you give them. A favorite line of police goes something like this, “I know you’re not drunk, but I just have to make sure, so do me a favor and do a couple sobriety tests (or blow into this breath test machine) so I can let you get out of here.” Attempting to perform the Field Sobriety Tests and failing is strong evidence against you in a DUI case, and people who are completely sober frequently “fail” these tests. As such, it’s generally advisable not to submit to a Field Sobriety Test. 
  • DO NOT Agree to a Preliminary Breathalyzer Test at the scene
    • The Breathalyzer tests the police use out in the field when they pull you over are notoriously unreliable, so unreliable in fact, that they are inadmissible in court. Many factors, like the temperature, previous use, calibration, or even the use of mouthwash can cause your results on these machines to be inaccurately high. Again, police will try to entice you to submit to a breath test by saying that once you take it and you pass you can leave. Chances are that if the police suspect you of DUI, its already too late and they are going to arrest you regardless, and its not unheard of for people to blow under the legal limit and still be arrested for DUI. By limiting the amount of evidence you give to police, you my still beat the DUI in court even though you were arrested on the scene.

If you or a loved one has been charged with DUI, reach out to Giannola Legal LLC today for a free consultation with our experienced criminal defense attorneys in Cook County, Illinois, and also serving the surrounding counties.

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