If a police officer has reason to believe you're driving under the influence of alcohol, they're likely to take immediate action by pulling your vehicle to the side of the road.
As scary as it may be, there are steps you can take at this time to hopefully avoid an arrest. Here's what you should do:
- Pull over as soon as possible: Once you see lights in your rearview mirror, slow down, put on your hazard lights and find a safe place to pull over. If you're on the highway, the shoulder of the road is your best option. In the city, search for a parking lot to pull into.
- Remain in your vehicle: Once you stop, don't get out of your vehicle to talk to the officer. Instead, put your hands on the wheel and wait for the officer to arrive at your window. At that point, follow directions. The officer is likely to ask for your license and registration.
- Be polite: Regardless of your condition, remain polite and respectful at all times. Arguing with the officer or talking back will only make things worse, even if you're not under the influence of alcohol.
- Remain quiet: You don't have to answer every question asked of you, thanks to your 5th Amendment rights. If you don't understand a question, for example, let the officer know that you'd rather not answer.
- Don't say too much: For instance, you may be tempted to make up a lie or tell the officer that you only had one drink. The more you expand on your story, the more likely you are to say something suspicious. It's better to remain quiet than it is to babble.
Even if you do all of these things, you may find yourself under arrest. If this happens, remain calm and quiet. Fighting back will only make things worse, as you could face additional charges.
After your release from jail, review the events leading up to and associated with your arrest. Doing so will give you a clear idea of what happened and the steps you can take to protect your legal rights in Virginia.
Visit our website for more information on how to defend yourself against DUI charges.