We have had several workers at our home over the past several months, doing various things. Last week, one of them asked me about this weekend and how he could avoid a DUI and what he should do if he is stopped either while driving or at a roadblock. (Oh, and count it: there are going to be roadblocks this weekend!) To those questions, here is the gist of what I responded to that worker at my home.
To avoid a DUI arrest, either don’t drink any alcohol or don’t drive if you do. Seems like a simple answer, but few people do it. The standards of having a designated driver OR planning to stay where you are (friends house, hotel, etc) OR taking a cab always work. However, you will need to plan something IN ADVANCE of the drinking event and be ready to implement that plan. Otherwise, your changes of getting in the car increase.
And that brings up another topic: in the car. Stay OUT of any vehicle after you have drunk any alcoholic beverage until there is someone CLOSER to the steering wheel than you. Otherwise, you are putting yourself in a position to catch an “Actual Physical Control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol” (APC) crime. The only difference between THAT and a DUI is that your car isn’t moving. It carries the same punishments and problems.
If you ARE driving this weekend and you are stopped OR if you run into a roadblock, remember a VERY important fact: These cops are looking for people to arrest for DUI . . . .period. If it is after dark this weekend, they’re EXPECTING that you are a candidate for that experience. And, when they are talking to you, they are looking for stuff to justify giving you that experience. Don’t help them. Unless you are Ron White or in a similar condition as he describes (“I had the right to remain silent, but didn’t have the ability”), remember you do NOT have to answer those bullshit questions from Officer Friendly. For example:“Where are you going?” Running errands, whatever. It’s your business.
“Where you been?” Tending to my business, how ’bout you?
“Been drinking tonight?” The answer is always NO, whether you have or not.
There are SOME things you have to do, though. For instance, produce your license and insurance. Have these easy to get to. When you are asked to “step out of the car” OR “pull over there please” (in the roadblock instance), you have to do that, too. Understand, you are at this point about to be asked to, OR told to, do field sobriety tests. Pay attention to the next paragraph.
It will start with “I want to see if you are safe to drive . . . . ” prior to the cop asking you to do these exercises. DO NOT AGREE TO DO THEM. You’re gonna fail them. Guaranteed. After all, the test-giver is the test-grader and if you fail he gets a prize of an arrest. Think you’re gonna pass? Me neither. Politely say that you decline to perform those tests. “If you don’t take them, I am going to have to arrest you” or some other threat is proof that he was planning to arrest you ANYWAY, regardless of your performance. Don’t give him any more opportunity to add more to his report. These tests USED to be inadmissible in our courts, but a recent case changed that. Don’t help him and hurt yourself.
If you ARE arrested, shut up and go quietly with him. At this point, you are going to be asked to take SOME test, either a breath of a blood test. My response for the past 20 years to this question had always been take it and demand a blood test thereafter. However, given the current state of topic, I can no longer give that answer. You have the RIGHT to refuse their chemical test. Use it. Refuse to submit to BOTH the field tests and the breath tests.
If ALL this DOES happen, post bond as soon as they will let you and call our office the next day.
Best Lawyers in America in DUI/DWI Defense Specialty, 2010 & 2011eds.
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Regent (retired) for the National College for DUI Defense Sifers & Sifers, Attorneys at Law
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228 Robert S. Kerr
Oklahoma City, OK 73102
office – 405-232-3388
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