I got pulled over for DWI, what should I do?
As a Criminal Defense Attorney, I get asked this question a lot. First of all, the most important thing to remember is that the police officer is NOT your friend. If the officer begins asking you questions about alcohol consumption, then he/she has already begun his investigation. With any investigation, whether it is for DWI or any other criminal offense, the best advice is: don’t say anything and always be polite.
The officer is building a case against you from the moment he suspects that you have been consuming alcohol and operating a vehicle. Every question the officer asks is carefully designed to elicit certain responses which will paint you in a very negative light. Police officers have been trained to ask specific questions in a way that there are no correct answers. You are at a severe disadvantage.
Most likely you have had very little involvement with police and even less involvement when you are the subject of a criminal investigation. Even though you may be very upset that this is happening to you, and not every officer will be polite to you, you must always keep calm and be polite to the officer. The officer has audio and video recording going the entire time. The only point of this video is to potentially show a jury.
Even though you are going to be on your best behavior, you DO NOT have to comply with what the officer is asking of you. Don’t answer any questions. Don’t tell the officer that you have or have not been drinking. Don’t tell the officer where you have been. Don’t tell the officer anything other than your name and date of birth. Politely inform the officer that you do not feel comfortable in the situation and you would like to speak with an attorney if you are not free to leave. The officer will be persistent in assuring you that you have nothing to worry about. However, stick to your guns. It is not a crime to refuse to answer questions.
Also, under no circumstances should you do any of the road side tests. The only reason for these tests is to have video of you falling over or some other such embarrassing situation to show to a jury. Do not recite the alphabet or count. Simply put, request an attorney and do nothing else. At this point you will likely be arrested for suspicion of DWI. This may not sound like a great outcome; however, it is much better than the alternative. That alternative is that the officer has roughly 30-45 minutes of asking impossible to answer questions such as, “In your current state would you drive a school bus full of children?” There is no good answer; if you say yes then you look like a callused drunk. If you say no, then clearly you are too intoxicated to drive. The next thing to happen will be the officer will request your breath or blood. Say NO!!!!! Under no circumstance do you give a specimen. The officer can apply for a warrant for your blood. Make them do the work. Often times they will choose to forgo the warrant because of the extra work required. Also, if you have done what you are supposed (not saying ANYTHING), your attorney will have some good arguments when attacking the validity of the search warrant. The officer must have probable cause to get a warrant.
In summation, be polite but don’t say a word. As soon as you are able to get out of jail contact an attorney and let the attorney do what they have been trained to do…Fight for you!