Know your rights. Here’s what you should do if you get pulled over while intoxicated.
While we all know that the easiest way to avoid a DWI in North Carolina is to not drive after drinking, some people decide to risk it and get behind the wheel. With this in mind, here are some tips to avoiding a DUI/DWI if you get pulled over:
While this may be easier said than done, it is important that you try to keep your cool and to not panic. Acting panicked will only give the officer more reason to suspect you of drinking and driving, while being relaxed will allow you to interact sensibly with the officer.
Some officers may come off as agressive and not friendly, yet this should not stop you from being polite and courteous at all times. If you assert your rights, you should not be argumentative or disrespectful. Officers will make note of your behavior in their reports so being cooperative will be beneficial.
Use Your Right to Remain Silent
One of the first questions a police officer, suspecting you of drinking and driving, will ask you is “Have you been drinking?” Or, the officer may ask where you were coming from. While you may believe that answering the question honeslty will be rewarded, chances are it will only hurt you. Instead of answering the question with a “yes” or “no,” you can simply state that your lawyer has instructed you to deny answering police questions of this kind. You cannot be forced to answer this question.
Don’t Do the Road Side Tests
In many cases, even after you have denied or refused the officer’s questions, the officer will ask you to step out of the car. Once out of the vehicle, the officer may ask (or instruct) you to perform several road side tests, including the portable breath test and other standardized field sobriety tests. You have the right to decline participating in these tests and you should do just that. Be both firm and respectful in your refusal.”
Call a Witness
If the officer believes that you are impaired, he/she will arrest you. In the event the officer arrests you, you will be given an opportunity to call a witness to come and watch you. Take the time to try and find a family member, a friend, a coworker, your lawyer, or someone you know to come and observe you. Having a witness will not only give you the opportunity to rebut the officer’s observations but the mere calling of a witness will require the officer to wait a period of time before administering the breath test, buying you much needed time for your BAC to lower.
The Breath Test
You will eventually be taken in front of one the North Carolina approved intoximeters (The Intox EC/IR II) and asked to give 2 breath samples. This is a test that has severe consequences if you refuse to take. If you refuse to take this test, your license will be suspended for one year and you will only be eligible for a limited driving privilege after a period of 6 months. Additionally, the State can use your failure to take this test as evidence that you knew you were above the legal limit. That said, if you believe there is a strong possibility that your Blood Alcohol Content is at or over .08%, then you should refuse this test. It is better to have your license suspended for the year than it is to essentially convict yourself of DWI, right?
After The Arrest: Contact a North Carolina DWI Attorney
Being pulled over for a DWI is very common, nationwide. Most people will immediatly hire a lawyer to fight the charges. There are a variety of reasons a DWI case can be tossed out in court, from the report to unjust measures taken at the scene, and everything in between. If you end up with a DWI charge, contact The Law Corner at 919-424-8319 for a FREE consultation and case evaluation. Knowing your options is key to making the best decisions after an unfortunate event like a DWI.