Getting pulled over is never a pleasant experience. Most of the time, however, the worst thing that happens as a result of a traffic stop is having to figure out how to pay a hefty ticket. If that traffic stop turns into an investigation for driving under the influence (DUI) though, the outcome could be significantly more serious. Moreover, if you have never been through a DUI stop before, you will undoubtedly be nervous and unsure of what you should and what you shouldn’t do. In case you find yourself the subject of a DUI investigation, an Omaha DUI lawyer explains what to do – and not do – during a DUI stop.
Things You Should Do During a DUI Stop
- Slow down and pull over as soon as it is safe. You may be a perfectly law-abiding citizen who poses no threat to the law enforcement officer who stopped you; however, the officer does not know that. For a law enforcement officer, every traffic stop has the potential to be deadly. Anytime you are stopped, do what you can to put the officer at ease with regard to his/her safety.
- Keep your hands where the officer can see them. The same rationale applies here. The officer has no way of knowing that you are only reaching for your insurance card or registration. If you do need to get documents out of the glove box or a purse, wait until the officer is at your window and can see exactly what you are doing.
- Roll down the window and hand your license, registration, and insurance card to the officer. These are the three documents that are always requested during any type of traffic stop. The sooner you can safely get those to the officer the better.
- Ask why you were stopped. Contrary to popular belief, a law enforcement officer cannot conduct a random stop. The officer must have a legal reason for the stop. You are certainly within your rights to ask what that reason was. If your case ever goes to trial, the alleged reason for the stop may be a focal point of your defense.
- Be respectful. No matter how irritated you may be, or how worried you may be, you have nothing to gain by being rude and/or disrespectful to the officer.
Things You Should Not Do During a DUI Stop
- Give the officer any reason to think you are failing to stop. While you should wait until you are somewhere where you can safely pull over, slow down in the meantime and put your turn signal on to let the officer know you plan to stop. A potentially difficult situation could get considerably worse if the officer thinks you are fleeing.
- Try to exit the vehicle. Your initial instinct may be to get out of the vehicle to talk to the officer; however, you must curb that instinct. As mentioned above, the officer has no idea who you are nor what your intentions may be. The minute you exit the vehicle the officer may become defensive and view you as a threat which could end very badly for you.
- Outright lie to the officer. If the officer suspects that you have been drinking, or are under the influence of drugs, you will likely be asked outright if you consumed alcohol or you are under the influence of a controlled substance. It is never good to lie to a police officer, but neither should you admit to drinking or taking drugs. Do your best to evade or ignore the question. You can always explain that your attorney advised you not to answer questions.
- Argue about the reason for the stop. Even if you are certain the officer did not have a valid legal reason for the stop, this is not the time to argue the point. Let your attorney do that at the appropriate time.
- Agree to perform the field sobriety tests. If the officer thinks you are under the influence you will be asked to perform the field sobriety tests. The tests are difficult to pass under ideal conditions when you are completely sober. The odds of passing them during a traffic stop are abysmal, particularly considering the fact that the officer subjectively decides if you passed. More importantly, the results are not admissible at trial but can be used to provide the probable cause necessary to arrest you.
- Try to talk the officer out of an arrest. If the officer has decided to arrest you, do not waste your time and energy trying to talk him/her out of it. It won’t work and you could make your situation worse.
Contact an Omaha DUI Lawyer at Petersen Law Office
If you have been through a DUI stop that resulted in an arrest in the State of Nebraska, it is always in your best interest to consult with an experienced Omaha DUI lawyer about the specific facts and circumstances of your case. Contact the Omaha DUI lawyers at Petersen Law Office 24 hours a day at 402-513-2180 to discuss your case with an experienced defense lawyer.