Investigated for DUI? Know How to Deal With It

I know, I know, you don’t think you’re ever going to be pulled over and investigated for DUI. You are careful. You drive safely, and it just doesn’t happen to people like you. Well, let’s just suppose for one second that it does. I mean, in the news every day we see famous people, both with celebrity lifestyles (think Lindsey Lohan) and without (think Tennessee Senator Jerry Cooper) arrested and pleading guilty to DUI, so why couldn’t it happen to you?

And if it could happen to you, then why not be ready for it, know your rights, and be able to express them competently to make sure you are digging your own hole? Knowing your rights doesn’t mean you are expecting to get a DUI, it means you’re prudent. Kind of like getting fire insurance on your house – you aren’t saying you think your house will burn down, you’re just protecting yourself in case it does.

I live in Seattle, and almost all of the Seattle DUI attorneys I know tell me there are a few very basic but necessary steps to defending yourself if you are investigated for DUI. First, don’t tell the cops that you were drinking – but don’t deny it either. What I mean is, don’t lie, but don’t answer the question. Either remain silent or tell the cop you aren’t answering that question.

Second, don’t take field sobriety tests. The purpose of field sobriety tests isn’t to see if you are too drunk to drive, it’s to give the cops that much more evidence to prove you are guilty of drunk driving when the case finally hits the prosecutors desk. Field sobriety tests are unreliable and they are subject to the whims of what the cop wants to see.

Third, and finally, don’t take the portable breath test. In most states, the portable breath test isn’t even admissible as evidence (consult your local DUI lawyer to make sure) but the cops can use it as a basis to arrest you. So why give them the ammunition?

Bottom line, I hope you are never stopped and investigated for DUI. But if you are, I hope you’ve taken the time to put these lessons to heart. They will help you not “beat” a DUI, but exercise your rights so you don’t dig your own DUI hole.

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