Being pulled over by a law enforcement officer while you are driving is usually not a pleasant experience under the best of circumstances. After all, the police don’t typically pull you over just to chat about the weather. Instead, a stop almost always means a traffic ticket at the very least. If you are pulled over because the officer suspects you are driving under the influence, or DUI, though, a traffic stop can turn into a real nightmare. If you have never been through a DUI stop you may have no idea how to handle a DUI stop in Nebraska. While each stop is unique, there are some tips that will help you make it through the stop with as little trauma as possible and help you preserve your defense should you end up being charged with DUI.
- Be respectful – antagonizing an officer or arguing with one will never help your situation. If you are clearly intoxicated, you are going to jail; however, if you truly only had a glass of wine with dinner or a beer after work the officer may have the discretion to charge you or let you go. Being respectful and cooperative is much more likely to result in spending the night at home instead of in jail.
- Do not incriminate yourself – being cooperative does not require you to incriminate yourself. Provide basic identifying information to the officer when asked; however, you are not required to admit to consuming alcohol if you are asked. While lying to a police officer is never a good idea, avoiding, deflecting, or simply not answering the question are certainly options.
- Know your rights – the old adage “knowledge is power” applies here. For example, although it may sound as though you do not have the right to refuse to perform the field sobriety tests, you can, in fact, refuse. Of course this may lead to your arrest but it also prevents potentially damaging evidence from being obtained against you. The same applies to the chemical test you will be asked to submit to after being arrested. You do have the right to refuse the test; although, there are consequences for refusing.
- Pay attention – in the event you are arrested, your defense may hinge on your recollection of events before and during the stop. What was the stated reason for the stop? What were the road conditions when you performed the field sobriety tests? How long did the stop take? How long after the stop did perform the chemical test? Remembering details will likely be crucial to your defense.
If you have been charged with DUI in Nebraska, contact the Omaha, Nebraska law office of Petersen Law Office 24 hours a day at 402-513-2180 to get started on your defense.