DWI: Driving While Intoxicated
Driving While Intoxicated – DWI and Driving Under The Influence – DUI
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16 Things You Need If You Are Stopped for a DUI or DWI,
And… a Couple of Things You Shouldn’t do While DWS (Driving While Stupid)
Getting pulled over for anything is no fun, unless it by the hot girl in red convertible Mustang (but I was younger then) but when you’re pulled over for a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) or DWI (Driving While Intoxicated), things get even more worrisome. Here are 16 things you need if you are stopped for a DUI or DWI. And… a few things you shouldn’t do while DWS (Driving While Stupid).
If you’re being pulled over by the police and you’ve been drinking, here are a few things you need in order to make everyone happy, umm, I mean to make the police officer happy, because that is whose vote counts.
* A basic review of driving skills – Now, I know you now this, but if you have been drinking you may have forgotten a few of these key and basic items. This is what policemen are looking for as an indicator that you may have been drinking: Operating a motor vehicle at night without lights being turned on (i know it easy to forget after being in a dimly let bar), Operating a motor vehicle at night with the high beam lights on at all times (ahh, the better to see you with, you proclaim), Failing to use turn signals when making a turn (and yes, that includes that illegal U-turn you made when you missed your exit), Speeding (yeah, this is obvious, but it catches a lot of suspected drunks), Slow speed in areas where it is not logical (sure you may want to overcompensate by driving too safely, but that is a problem too) and the weaving in and out. OK, study the above and commit them to memory. Better yet, print out this article and paste it to your windshield.
* A safe place to pull over – Once you see those lights flashing behind you, pull over to a spot on the road that is safe and out of the way. Just so we are clear, that doesn’t mean speed up, a bit at first, then a lot, to see if you can lose the cop while seeking a safe place to pull over. And that doesn’t mean the next open tavern. You don’t want your employer or family to see you on a CNN out of control, wild car chase. If may have sorta’ worked for OJ, but it won’t work for you. Pull over and practice your smile.
That didn’t look like a very safe place to pull over to me . . . . how about you? In fact, I’m hard pushed to think of a worse place to pull over.
* Stay in the car, get out of the car – whatever – Don’t get out of your car as that tends to get the trigger finger itchy for most policemen. They want you in the car and under control. Of course, if they tell you to get out, try not to fall out or stagger.
* Your manners. Yes, YOUR manners – If you really want to make an officer mad, be rude to them. Even if you haven’t been drinking a lot, or the police officer reminds you of your mother-in-law (including the moustache), keep it to yourself as that comment will always get you in trouble. A couple of unslurred, “Yes Sir,” or Yes Ma’am” comments can go along way to keeping it civil.
* Your driver’s license – Your driver’s license should be in your wallet or purse at all times. Hopefully you didn’t forget it at home, or at the bar. Or worse yet, hopefully it is not an expired driver’s license. It seems when your driver’s license is expired, well, that just escalates the tension. And, if you are a youth, remember to show your real license, not that fake driver’s license you bought online, so you could get into that tavern earlier tonight.
* Your car registration – Your vehicle registration or a copy should be easily accessible so that you can prove the car you’re driving is yours. An expired car registration is never good during a DUI stop. Worse yet, if you have your ex-girl friends car, or the car is stolen, umm, err, plan on an extended conversation with the patrolman.
* Take the fifth – That doesn’t mean a fifth of whiskey or vodka, you already did that. The Fifth Amendment protects you from self-incrimination, but not stupidity. So remember, you have the right to refrain from answering any and all questions asked of you. This includes not answering the question, “How how many drinks did you have?”, as if you would remember anyways.
* Give the policeman the silent treatment – I know when my wife does that to me, it works. You can try that when the you are afraid that you might slur your words when asked complex questions like, “What is your name?” or “Have you been drinking?”. You do have the right to remain completely silent or cite your right not to speak. Of course, if you are drunk and you won’t really remember to use this strategy, but I thought I would tell you anyways.
* Field sobriety tests are not required – Policemen can ask you to step out of the car so they can check you for coordination and balance. Of course, many of you aren’t too coordinated in sober life, so if you are inebriated, this can be dreadful. Policemen often command you to do these test with a vocal inflection indicating authority and compliance, but, in most states, you are not required by law to perform these tests. Plus, how ridiculous do you really want to look?
* The Breathalyzer test – The Breathalyzer test is an analytical device used to determine your blood alcohol content. The accuracy of these tests is suspect. They do not always provide correct information about one’s level of intoxication. All states have what is called an Implied Consent Law which means that when you received your driver’s license, you (often unknowingly) agree to submit to testing upon request a police officer. If you refuse to perform a test, such as the Breathalyzer, you will automatically suspended for failure to comply with chemical testing. So, like or not, it is probably best to take any chemical tests requested.
* The phone number of a DWI attorney or DUI lawyer – OK, if you made it this far, you must really be in a heap of trouble. It never hurts to have the phone number of a good lawyer in your wallet (especially if you are a frequent buyer of their service) or in your cell phone at all times, just in case. Asking for the badge number of the policeman and threatening to call his boss, or your dear, personal friend, the mayor, isn’t really a good use of wireless communication. A call to your bookie is usually not a wise decision.
* No apologies – You do NOT need any apologies if you are pulled over by the police. When you apologize, you are admitting guilt. And that’s not a good idea. Plus you really need to save the apology for when you get home to your parents or spouse.
* Take the sobriety test – If you have been drinking, the officer already knows it, so just take the test. Sadly, for many of you, this is the only test you have taken in years. You can refuse, but you can still get arrested for DUI or DWI. And no smarty pants comments like, I’ve been studying for this test all night at Benji’s Gents Club.”
* The DWI stop recorded on video – When you haven’t been drinking, it never hurts to make sure the DUI traffic stop is recorded on the patrol car’s video system. If you’re treated badly, you have proof and can sue. Of course if you are staggering and screaming at the officer, that won’t play to well at your DWI trial.
* A clean car – Your car should not be littered with guns, booze, or drug paraphernalia when the cop pulls you over. While some contestants just throw the liquor bottles and the like out of the window while evading, umm, I mean, finding a safe place to pull over, this doesn’t work. You will get a ticket for littering as well. While, to most readers, this is a no brainer, but for some, it is necessary to state this fact – you know who you are. If you are asking yourself, “Is he talking about me?” Well, yes I am.
* A cool head – And we are not talking about a cool head of frothy beer. While crying might get you out of a speeding ticket (cops don’t like to see men with running mascara), this is not the way to get out of a possible DUI or DWI.
Smile, use your manners, common sense (for most of you, that is what you left at the bar), and be polite.
Makes you stop and think don’t it? Well, I sure hope so anyway . . .