Getting pulled over by the police is an unnerving experience under any circumstances. It can be especially frightening, if you know you may be driving with a blood alcohol content that’s over the legal limit. In South Carolina, for instance, that limit is 0.08% and registering higher than that can land you in serious legal trouble. Yet, the last thing you want to do is panic. It’s best to remain calm and follow these recommendations.
It Starts with the Stop
As soon as you see those flashing lights in your rearview mirror, look for a safe place to stop. Already, the officer has identified a reason to stop you, so panicking and driving erratically will make him even more suspicious. More importantly, it will go into his official report.
Don’t Make Abrupt Movements
Throughout the stop, remain calm. Remember, the officer doesn’t know what your state of mind is or if you are armed. Even if you tell him you aren’t armed, he’ll err on the side of caution. The best advice here is to keep your hands positioned on the steering wheel at the 10 and 2 o’clock positions, respectively.
Never Answer Incriminating Questions
In fact, volunteer as little information as possible, as your statements will be admissible in court. By law, you are required to supply the officer with your name, license, insurance details, and your vehicle registration. Otherwise, decline to answer further questions.
Refuse Tests at the Scene
First, the officer will want to give you a field sobriety test. It’s better to refuse this test and risk having your license suspended than to submit to this subjective test and provide unscientific evidence to be used against you in court. Similarly, refuse a breathalyzer test on the scene, as they’re unreliable, yet can still be used against you. If you are taken into custody, you will likely be required to submit to a breathalyzer test at the police station and, at that time, you won’t have a choice. The breathalyzers at the police station are more reliable and accompanied by blood draws and other scientific tests.
Choose Your Test
Once in custody at the police station, you should be given a choice as to whether you prefer a blood test or a breath test. Even the best DUI attorney Greenville SC will recommend opting for the breath test. It’s less reliable than the blood test and provides for better defense opportunities in court.
After Your Release
There’s still more to do, even after you leave the police station. The very first thing you do should be to write down a record of your stop and arrest in as much detail as possible. Include details of your day or evening leading up to the stop, including what you were doing, who you were with, and what you were drinking. Your defense attorney will also want to know how much you drank, how long after your first drink before you were stopped by the officer, and the location of your stop.
Once you have all of this information recorded, it will be time to contact an attorney. This is not the kind of legal matter you can handle on your own. Be sure to shop around and look for an attorney experienced with DUI cases. You should feel confident in your attorney’s ability to defend you, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. Remember, it’s your freedom that’s at risk.