You’re cruising down the highway, enjoying yourself and suddenly you see police lights in your rear-view mirror. You hope that the officer isn’t coming after you, but you have a bad feeling in the pit of your stomach.
If you find yourself on the side of the road as part of a DWI traffic stop, here’s what you need to do:
- Stay in your car: If the officer wants you to get out, they’ll let you know. Opening your door before the officer arrives at your window gives them reason to believe their safety is at risk, which can amplify an already touchy situation.
- Do not consent to any searches or seizures: You do not have to provide the cop with consent to search your vehicle or person. Unless they have reasonable suspicion to search you, you should not consent to a search.
- Don’t say too much: The Fifth Amendment gives you the right to remain silent. Invoking this right can prevent you from self-incrimination. You are under no obligation to answer a cop’s questions, including questions about your residence, plans for the day or criminal history.
- Stay calm: If you’re put under arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol, it is important to remain calm. Not only does this help prevent additional criminal charges, such as resisting arrest, but it allows you to more easily take mental notes of what’s happening to you.
When you do these things during a DWI traffic stop, you increase the likelihood of driving away from the scene without any charges.
If you are arrested for DWI, don’t wait to learn more about your legal rights and the details of your case. The knowledge you collect will go a long way in helping you formulate a defense strategy for avoiding a conviction and associated consequences.