A DUI arrest is a serious matter, and it’s important to know what to do if you find yourself in such a situation. Regardless of whether you’ve been drinking before driving, your conduct during a DUI arrest can influence your sentencing and legal options following the arrest. Keep the following dos and don’ts in mind during a DUI arrest for the most positive outcome.
DO Be Polite to the Arresting Officer
Being polite and respectful during an arrest is always the best approach. You may feel unfairly targeted or the victim of mistaken identity and emotions can easily run high during an encounter with the police. You may also realize that you have committed a DUI offense and start bracing for the worst. Remember, one of your Miranda rights is the right to remain silent, but this applies to your choice of words as well. Being disrespectful or combative with an arresting officer is a good way to wind up in jail for longer than necessary, and it may even lead to additional charges such as resisting arrest or assaulting a police officer.
DON’T Admit Fault for Anything
Even if you know you are guilty of DUI, do not confess to drinking or using drugs behind the wheel. When the police read your Miranda rights, this includes the right to remain silent and doing so while intoxicated is probably a good idea. Alcohol impairs your judgment and saying too much can lead to increased penalties. If the arresting officer has probable cause to issue a chemical test and the result is above the legal limit, your best option is to heed the officer’s instructions and remain silent until you can contact an attorney.
DO Have Personal Information Ready
You should always drive with your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and proof of auto insurance coverage. It’s a good idea to keep these documents in your glove compartment for easy access. Failing to keep these materials with you may lead to additional charges, such as driving without a license or failure to maintain insurance coverage.
DON’T Agree to Roadside Dexterity Tests
A police officer may ask you to perform a roadside sobriety check that includes a few dexterity tests. These can include walking a straight-line heel-to-toe, balancing on one leg, and hand/eye coordination tests. There is no legal obligation to submit to these tests, and even sober people have difficulty passing them. In most cases, a police officer will request a roadside test and then use the suspect’s failure to justify a chemical test. You cannot refuse a chemical test, however. Doing so will incur an automatic one-year license suspension unless you can prove the officer did not have probable cause to demand a chemical test.
DON’T Drive Under the Influence
The best way to avoid a DUI arrest is by avoiding driving while intoxicated. If you plan to drink, find alternative transportation instead of driving yourself, or join a group with a designated driver. A DUI arrest can lead to significant legal penalties and expense, and the best way to deal with these incidents is to avoid them entirely.
DO Hire a DUI Attorney in Arizona
Navigating DUI charges without legal representation is a bad idea. During your initial hearing, a DUI lawyer can make a stronger case for reduced license suspension and may help you secure a plea bargain with less severe legal penalties. While you may feel tempted to represent your own interests, hiring a qualified DUI defense attorney can help you avoid some penalties and may mitigate others. The average person simply does not have the experience or legal training to successfully navigate a DUI case alone.