12 Do’s And Don’ts For A DUI Arrest

Jun 25, 2024

There is no denying that going through the DUI process can be an incredibly difficult and challenging life experience. Whether you’ve been charged with driving under the influence or have a friend or family member facing a criminal DUI, you likely feel overwhelmed, scared, and anxious. But don’t panic! In this article, we provide you with 12 things you can do and shouldn’t do to help you or a loved one learn how to deal with a DUI.

Knowing your rights, the legal process, and how to make important decisions along the way are critical. Whether this is your first DUI or you have a history, this guide is designed to help you understand and navigate the challenging opportunities that come with dealing with a DUI.

The Biggest Don’t For Those Who Don’t Yet Have DUI Charges

Chances are you wouldn’t be reading this article unless you, or someone close to you, already has an upcoming DUI charge (if you do, scroll down to the next section, which will be highly relevant to your arrest!). However, if, by some chance, you haven’t been charged with a DUI yet and you just happened upon this article by accident, then this section could save you a whole lot of trouble in the future. For others, it may come as a case of too little, too late. Nevertheless, it serves as a valuable lesson for the future.

  • Don’t drink and drive, period. There are many reasons why people get DUIs, but it’s important not to drink and drive regardless of the circumstances – that’s why there are such harsh penalties for a DUI. You can harm not only yourself but other drivers, or innocent people, as well.
  • Do plan ahead if you are going to drink, no matter how much or how little. For those going out with family or friends, get a ride there and home or appoint a designated driver. If that is not an option, use an Uber or Lyft to and from your location. That way, you can relax and enjoy yourself without worrying about how much alcohol you’ve consumed or waiting around for hours for the effects of the alcohol to wear off before driving home. More importantly, you ensure that everyone will get home safely and avoid the possibility of a DUI arrest and criminal charge.
  • Do consider the consequences of your actions. If you’re intoxicated behind the wheel, you have to think about the harm that you might cause, both to yourself and to others. There’s a very good chance you could be involved in a severe crash if you’re driving under the influence of alcohol. And if you are involved in a crash, there’s a good chance that you may also seriously injure or even kill yourself or another innocent bystander. Knowing that you were responsible for seriously injuring or killing someone can have a devastating impact on you and your family, the victim(s) and their family and friends for the rest of your life.

For Those Who Are Pulled Over For DUIs – What To Do And Not To Do During A DUI Arrest

If you are pulled over for a DUI, there are certain things you should and should not do that will help you get the best possible chance of a successful outcome in your case.

  • Do be as fully cooperative as possible with the cop who pulls you over. They’ll ask to see your driver’s license, your registration and proof of insurance. The best approach is to be ready to show them before the cop approaches your car, so they do not see you rummaging through your glove compartment and center console for your license and registration, questioning your ability to manipulate objects with your hands, or serving as a witness to the fact that you were drunk at the time.
  • Do be civil and polite. Being confrontational, rude or antagonistic towards the officer will not help your cause and will likely increase the severity of your penalty. You may be upset that you have been pulled over, but understand that the officer is simply doing their job and is trying to keep you and others safe, and ultimately, it is their decision that will determine your fate. Thus, if there is any hope at all of being let off with nothing more than a warning, rather than a citation, or with a favorable testimony later on, it won’t be because you were rude or disrespectful to the officer.
  • Don’t look the officer in the eye. An officer might be trying to ascertain how drunk you are by looking at the condition of your eyes, whether they are reddish, glazed, or watery. So, lower your eyes and avert yours away from the officer to avoid providing the officer with evidence of your intoxication, or look at something to the right or left of them. This will be difficult if you are accustomed to looking people in the eyes when talking to them, and this may give the impression to the officer that you are being untruthful about your level of intoxication.

That is understandable, but nonetheless, remember that the officer has been trained to assess your level of intoxication, and this information could become evidence to be used against you in court. If the officer cannot see your eyes, the officer cannot then use whatever the officer sees as evidence against you.

  • Don’t admit to drinking. The officer will ask: “Have you been drinking?” and “How much have you had, and how many drinks?” You are not legally required to respond. You can simply say: “Thank you for asking your questions, but I respectfully decline to answer.” It may feel like you are lying by saying that, but the reason you want to say that is to avoid your admission of having been drinking while operating a vehicle. That statement is going to go down in their report, and it’s going to be used against you in court.
  • Don’t answer beyond “yes” and “no”. The less you speak, the better. If you’re busy looking at the ground, not speaking to the officer directly in the eye, and keeping your mouth shut as much as possible, it will be harder to detect alcohol on your breath. Finally, it can’t be emphasized enough that you don’t have to answer the questions asked by police, you’re not legally obligated to speak, and the words you don’t say won’t be in the report and used against you.
  • Don’t agree to perform field sobriety tests. The officer will not ask you to perform a field sobriety test but instead will make it sound like you have no choice, when in reality you do. Politely refuse to perform any field sobriety tests. If you submit to performing a field sobriety test, it will only increase the odds of being arrested and charged with a DUI.

The tests are designed for failure, and if you take them, you will fail. If you refuse to submit to taking the tests, you will get arrested for DUI anyway, which is the same as what would have happened if you had consented to take the tests. The difference is that they will have less evidence against you to present to the judge in court, and the prosecutor will have to prove their case without the evidence that comes from you taking the tests.

  • Don’t agree to a breathalyzer test. If you blow into a breathalyzer, your act constitutes evidence that you are driving drunk and will eventually find its way into court. By refusing, it allows additional time for your body to process the alcohol. If you wait and ride to the police station, then decide to blow afterwards, your test results could be lower than at first. A roadside breathalyzer test is part of the process for determining whether you are too intoxicated to drive. Refusing to blow will get you arrested, but if you know you will likely fail the test, it’s to your benefit not to take it.

To be clear, however, Missouri, like many states, has what is called an implied consent law. If you have a driver’s license and drive in Missouri, you have implied consent to be asked to take a breath test. If you refuse, your license is automatically suspended for a period of 1 year. It’s an inconvenience, no doubt, and a difficult decision. If, ultimately, you’re acquitted of any DUI charges, it may prove worth the wait. If the charges are reduced to a lesser offense, the suspension could be longer than if you’d submitted to the test.

It should also be understood that if you refuse a breath or blood test, the police can still obtain your blood by subpoena, without your consent. The best option is to politely refuse the test, delay as long as you can, and then call a lawyer for advice on how to proceed.

Now What?

Whatever you have already done or not yet done, it’s done, and it can’t be undone. But what you can do is look forward and make the best of whatever decisions have been made. The only thing you can ever really do is keep living and do your best with what you’ve got. With that in mind, the next best things you can do are:

  • Don’t put off taking action against a DUI arrest. From the moment that you have been taken into custody and charged with a DUI offense, the state is building its case against you. Much too often, people wait way too long before calling for help, and by the time they do, it is too late. They have missed the opportunity to protect their rights. Time is of the essence, and there is no time to waste.
  • Do seek qualified legal representation immediately from a qualified DUI attorney with extensive experience in the same jurisdiction where your case is pending. Having a lawyer familiar with your jurisdiction, who knows the judges and the prosecutors, and their tendencies in these types of cases, as well as the angles and defense strategies that are most effective, can make all the difference between a conviction and a dismissal. Do your due diligence and select an attorney who knows the law and who is experienced in your area of practice.

If you find yourself in a situation where you need a lawyer to aggressively defend your rights and protect your interests against a DUI charge in Missouri or Illinois, contact Michael Reid Legal Solutions for a free consultation.