“I can do this. I can drive home. I’m not drunk. Yeah, I can do this.” That’s what you told yourself as you climbed behind the wheel and headed home from a night out with friends. You thought everything was going fine until you saw those flashing lights in the review mirror and heard the siren signaling you to pull your vehicle over to the side of the road. You realize now that you should not have gotten behind the wheel; that you weren’t sober enough to make the trip home without endangering yourself or others. So, what do you do if you find yourself in this situation? How do you respond? What should you expect?
The first thing to expect is that you will probably sit in your car for a few minutes before the officer approaches the vehicle. This is typically when the officer will be calling in the stop to dispatch and when he will be running an id on the vehicle to find who it is registered to. During this time don’t fidget in your vehicle. Don’t start looking around under the seats for your identification. If it’s not where you can reach it wait until the office approaches before climbing into the back seat to retrieve it.
When the officer approaches the vehicle he will ask for identification, proof of insurance, and registration. Hopefully these things are where you can get to them easily. If not explain to the officer that your purse is in the trunk or in the back seat and you will need to get it. Don’t start reaching for it without explaining what you are doing as this might signal to the officer that you are trying to hide something.
Always be polite to the officer. Do not give the office grief for pulling you over. It’s his job to ensure the safety of motorists and he is not to blame for your poor decision. If you are violent or abusive with the officer you have a better chance of spending the night in a jail cell. If you are nice to the officer you may be able to get out of the situation with only a warning. Of course the officer won’t allow you to drive home but they may be willing to give you a ride to your destination or allow you to call someone to come pick you up.
During your interaction with the officer he will be looking for tell-tell signs of intoxication. These signs might include erratic behavior, abusive behavior, bloodshot eyes, smell of alcohol, slurring of words, and clumsiness. If the officer notices any of these they will then ask you to exit the car. Don’t exit the vehicle unless the officer requests as this may be seen as a threat toward the officer. When exiting the vehicle the officer will then ask you to perform some test.
These tests are known as field sobriety tests. These tests look for reaction time and balance which are not normal when a driver is intoxicated. Field sobriety tests usually include having the driver close their eyes and put their finger to their nose. Another test used is having the driver walk a straight line down the road edge marking line. If a driver cannot perform these tasks or has a lot of difficulty the officer can assume the person is above the legal limit of consumption.
At this point the officer may ask you to take a Breathalyzer test. Most states do not require this test to be taken immediately and drivers can refuse. Not taking the test at this time or refusing the test completely will most likely end in a trip to jail where you will be formally charged with driving while intoxicated.
The best thing to do is to avoid getting into this situation. Line up a designated driver before going out if you plan on drinking. Know your limit and when to stop. If you have any doubt at all that you aren’t sober call a cab. Driving while intoxicated can not only mess up your life but the lives of other innocent drivers on the road. Think about the consequences before taking the risk. Always try and contact a good DUI Lawyer in Arizona for further expertise and information.