In today’s emotionally charged dealings with police, cooperation is absolutely essential to your safety and future. However, that does not mean you have to allow an officer to subject you to anything incriminating or illegal. You have the right to fair treatment. What you do when you are pulled over for drunk driving can greatly affect the proceedings of your case, so be prepared and learn the best way to act to avoid making your DUI charge harder to fight.
What you do not have to do
Contrary to popular belief, there are some things you do not have to agree to that are commonly part of DUI stops. You are not legally bound to answer any incriminating questions, such as if you have been drinking, how many drinks you have had or even where you are driving from. Unless you are underage or on probation for a previous drunk driving incident, you do not have to take a field (roadside) sobriety test or use a breathalyzer either.
What you do have to do
Although you do not have to fulfill every request, there are things you have to and should do to help the interaction go smoothly and to protect your rights.
- Do be polite when you refuse anything. Maintain firm respect if the officer tries to provoke you.
- Do show your driver’s license, vehicle registration and proof of auto insurance.
- Do feel free to ask to speak to a lawyer at any point during the stop. The sooner you do so the better because anything you say can be used against you by the police. Furthermore, if the police give you a temporary license, you only have 15 days to request a hearing or the MVD will suspend your license. An attorney can help you act quickly and can represent you at the hearing to prevent this consequence from happening.
- Do accept to take a blood alcohol test. Refusing to do so will result in a one-year suspension of your license, and you still will have to take the test anyway because of the Implied Consent law. Also, you can have the blood sample retested to contest the accuracy of the results.
Talk to a lawyer
Intoxication can hinder your memory and behavior, so the most important thing to remember is your right to speak to an attorney. The penalties of driving under the influence in Arizona are severe. An experienced criminal defense lawyer may help you avoid or lessen those penalties.