You should always set up a sober ride if you plan to sip alcoholic beverages outside of your home. But in case you find yourself in a situation where you might not have waited long enough between drinking and driving, it’s important to think carefully about what you might say and do during a drunk driving traffic stop.
You’ll want to do all you can to not provide evidence or give the impression that you were drinking before going behind the wheel. This is because the police officer who conducts your DWI stop will need proof in order to arrest you.
Here are three specific things you should avoid doing:
- Don’t admit drinking
A police officer that pulls you over might ask if you know why they flagged you down or if you’ve been drinking. In either case, it’s best to not say anything about the drinks you might have had that evening. Because after an arrest, you will still have an opportunity to defend yourself in a court of law. Showing guilt at the scene will follow you into your hearing, as the cop will include what you say in a report or there might be body or dash cam footage of your arrest.
- Don’t take roadside tests prior to arrest
Unless you were simply driving through a DWI checkpoint, the police officer needs reasonable suspicion to conduct the stop. Reasonable suspicion for drunk driving could be speeding, making random stops, or weaving through lanes. Essentially, the situation is already not in your favor before the cop even approaches your vehicle. So, you won’t want to show any other signs or impairment through agreeing to take sobriety or breathalyzer tests. Losing your balance while trying to walk in a straight line or holding one foot up will only dig yourself into deeper hole. Same with blowing a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level above the legal limit.
- Don’t skip out on chemical test after arrest
Although you might want to pass on taking roadside tests, there is a penalty for refusing to take a breath or chemical test to measure your BAC after the police officer arrests you. Specifically, North Carolina residents who refuse a chemical test after conviction may face a year-long license suspension.
If you’ve made any of these mistakes, you can still seek justice. Consulting a criminal defense attorney can help you choose a path to defense that fits your case.