What to Do After Being Stopped for a DWI
The sudden flashing of red, white, and blue lights in your rear view mirror can be terrifying. You may know that you have committed some type of traffic infraction, or may be unsure of what the police officer behind you thinks you are doing wrong. Either way, being stopped by the police can be a scary thing. One of the more serious crimes that can be committed while driving is driving while impaired (DWI). In North Carolina, a driver is guilty of a DWI if they are driving under the influence of an impairing substance or driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more. It can be scary being stopped for a DWI; as such, it is important that you keep certain things in mind. In light of this, the following includes four things that you should do after being pulled over and charged with a DWI.
Pull Over to a Safe Location
If you are being pulled over, an officer already suspects that you are doing something wrong. Therefore, it is in your best interest to not give the officer any more reasons to be suspicious. Pull over calmly, smoothly, and safely. Avoid any erratic movement, pulling over in an unsafe place, or speeding or slowing down too quickly.
Be Courteous and Polite
Once you are pulled to the side of the road and the officer is at your window speaking to you, always be polite to the officer. A hostile demeanor is likely to offend a police officer and potentially make the situation worse for you. Comply with the officer’s requests, like stepping out of the vehicle if asked, to avoid any suspicion that you are resisting any of the officer’s actions.
Additionally, you should be wary of your answers to an officer’s questions. Do not lie about anything, but it is also important to not answer any incriminating questions without thinking about them and the consequences. You can politely decline to answer questions.
Possibly Refuse Field Sobriety Tests
North Carolina police officers use field sobriety tests to determine if a driver is impaired or not. A field sobriety test is not a foolproof way to determine intoxication. An officer is likely administering them with the hope of obtaining incriminating evidence against you. Refusal could result in an arrest, but without any proof of being impaired, there is likely not going to be a conviction. You can also refuse a breathalyzer test. This will often result in a suspension of your license, but could be worth a temporary suspension versus a permanent conviction. Instead of taking a test on the side of the road, you can take a chemical test at the police station.
Contact an Attorney
After you have been arrested for a DWI, you need to contact an attorney as soon as possible. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to guide you in the right direction following the charge. The experienced legal team at Dysart Willis is prepared to see your case through to the end. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our North Carolina office for assistance today.