If you drink and drive, regardless of the amount consumed, there will always be a real chance that you could be stopped, arrested, and convicted of drunk driving. You don’t need to need to be a legal professional in order to say and do the right thing at a DUI/DWI traffic stop. In pretty much any state, the tips mentioned below will help protect your civil rights and greatly improve your chances of driving away safely.
Know your Miranda Rights.
During a DUI/DWI traffic stop, a police officer will likely ask you questions that seem harmless. Keep in mind that these questions are designed to determine whether or not you consumed controlled substances or alcohol. The words, “Anything you say can and will be used against in a court of law” is widely known – but remember that the first part of the Miranda Rights is, “You have the right to remain silent.” Exercise this right. If the officer asks you questions, politely decline to engage in this dialogue. Instead, you have the right to have a lawyer to do the talking for you.
Know which chemical tests to take.
While you are not required to perform a Preliminary Breath Test/PBT conducted roadside, your refusal to do so will potentially allow for the officer to determine there is probable cause for further detention and testing. On the other hand, it is against the law in Minnesota for you to refuse the breath, urine or blood test down at the police station after the Minnesota Implied Consent Advisory is read by the officer. Failure to submit to chemical testing at the police station will put you at risk of losing your license for a year and being charged with the crime of Refusal in Minnesota .
Do not perform field sobriety tests.
Are you being asked to perform a series of tests, such as walking in a straight line, standing on one leg, or following a moving object with your eyes? The officer is doing so because he wants to test your coordination. It is important to remember that all field sobriety tests are optional, but police officers will never voluntarily disclose this information. More importantly, such tests may be offered as evidence against you at trial by the prosecutor.
Decline warrantless searches.
You are under no obligation to consent to an officer’s request to search your vehicle and belongings. The officer may be asking to conduct a search because he or she doesn’t have substantial evidence to convict you of your DUI charge.
If you are pulled over, simply shut the car engine off, roll down your window, and keep your hands planted on the steering wheel. Retrieve your documents only when the officer asks to see them. Refer to the officer as “officer”, “sir” or “ma’am”. You may be under a stressful situation, but be polite and non-confrontational throughout the entire traffic stop in order to prevent making the situation any harder than it needs to be.