The thing most drivers dread the most is being pulled over. There are few things more intimidating than seeing the lights in your rearview mirror and waiting for the officer to talk to you. If you are like most drivers, it happens rarely enough that you do not really know what to do in this situation. For example, do you know whether you are legally required to take a sobriety test? Learn the answer to this question and many others so you can be prepared if you ever find yourself being pulled over.
The Sobriety Test
Under most circumstances, you are not required to take a sobriety test. This includes the “breathalyzer” and any other kind of test. If an officer asks you to take the test, not only do you have the option to refuse, it is in your best interest to refuse. These tests are subjective, which means the officer decides if the test determines if you are drunk or not. Remember, if you have been pulled over, it is because the officer already thinks you have committed a crime. They are actively looking to prove their suspicion right. Whether it is due to confirmation bias or willfully ignoring the truth, taking a sobriety test may get you convicted of a DUI, even if you were not drunk. However, it is important to realize when taking a sobriety test is legally required. If you are under the age of 21, on DUI probation, or have already been arrested, you do not have a choice. Additionally, refusing to take a sobriety test under these conditions may worsen your sentence or incur a fine.
Other Best Practices When Pulled Over
- Never lie – Lying to a police officer is a crime.
- Do not answer questions – While you should not lie, you also do not have to answer any questions.
- Be polite – The key to refusing to answer questions is to be as polite as possible.
- Turn off engine, put your keys on the dashboard, and place your hands on the steering wheel – This demonstrates that you are taking the officer’s safety into consideration.
- Do not argue – This only makes your case worse. This is especially important if the officer arrests you. It could be seen as resisting arrest, which is a crime. If asked to get out of your car, do so.
Finally, remember to contact your lawyer as soon as you are able to. You should have a lawyer before you ever find yourself in this situation.