Many people who come into my office dealing with a DUI case express their shock at how little they had to drink in order to be considered “over the limit.” If you are pulled over, some of the decisions you make can affect the strength of the case against you.
Here is a breakdown of what you can expect when you are pulled over for DUI or DWAI.
Interacting with the Officer
Generally, your first series of decisions will come in your interaction with the officer.
- Frequently, the officer will ask if you know why you were pulled over. If you tell the officer you were speeding, weaving, etc., he/she will note that comment and eliminate your ability to challenge the stop later.
- He or she will first ask you if you are willing to do voluntary roadside tests.
- Next, the officer will invoke the Express Consent Statute that says, “If you drive a motor vehicle in the state of Colorado, you have already given your permission to have a test taken. Therefore you must choose whether you would prefer to have a blood test or a breath test.” This is with regards to an alcohol offense. If you are suspected of being under the influence of drugs, you will be required to take a blood, saliva or urine test.
- And finally, you must decide how much you will talk to the officer. Many clients get nervous in this situation and talk too much, admitting guilt or revealing details that affect their case.
As a general rule of thumb, you should never volunteer information when you’re pulled over. If the officer asks you directly, “Do you know why I pulled you over?” it is best to respond with, “No,” rather than admitting guilt to something the officer might or might not have pulled you over for.
Additionally, it is my personal opinion that unless you are an elite athlete and totally sober, you probably should not agree to do the roadside tests. Although the roadsides might seem easy, it is extremely difficult even for someone who is sober to successfully complete the test. Additionally, the person “grading the test” likely has a predisposition as to your sobriety, which could affect his/her opinions.
If you are asked to do roadside tests, I recommend responding with, “I would very much like to take the roadsides and demonstrate that I am sober, but I have a friend who’s an attorney and he or she told me to never take the roadsides.”
If you are asked to take a chemical test, you have to decide what’s important to you. If the case is most important, the lack of a test may make it more defensible (assuming you’re not sober). If driving is most important, the motor vehicle aspects of the case are more severe if you refuse a test. Likewise, the test you take is dependent on the circumstances. Most attorneys believe that the blood test is more reliable, but it does cause you to submit to a blood draw. It also allows for a retest. The breath test is quicker and less expensive. [If you plead guilty or are convicted, you will be asked to pay for the test.] Most juries would likely perceive a breath test as less reliable, so, if you are convinced that your alcohol level is too high, a breath test may be perceived as less reliable.
Contact an Attorney Immediately
Once you are released from custody, contact an experienced attorney right away. Every bit of information may be crucial to your case, and the human memory isn’t known for getting better with time.
Do yourself a tremendous favor and contact an attorney who can help you maneuver through the situation.
Have you been arrested for DUI or DWAI? Don’t deal with this by yourself – it is much better to have an experienced attorney on your side. Call our office today at 303-449-1873 to set up a free consultation.