1) Make Sure You Find a Safe Spot To Pull Over
One of the very first things that a Police Officer is looking for is your decision where to stop and pull over as well as how you stop. Do your best to stay calm and find a safe spot. Do not stop in the middle of heavy traffic on a busy road. Pull into a side street or parking lot, use your blinker to signal your turn and bring your vehicle to a slow stop. If you take too long to pullover or pick a poor spot to pull over, the police officer will testify that you were acting suspiciously and you didn’t pull over properly because you had too much to drink and were intoxicated.
2) Don’t Say Anything Except Your Name and Only Provide Your License, Insurance, & Registration
You are required to tell the police officer who made the stop your full name and provide your Michigan driver’s license, proof of insurance, and vehicle registration. Besides providing your name and required documents, you should not talk to the officer. The police officer will without a doubt start asking you all sorts of questions like have you been drinking tonight, what type of alcohol you drank, how much did you drink, and many other questions that will help the officer arrest you. You have absolutely no obligation to answer these questions and you should not answer these questions. The officer may act like your friend and claim that he is simply trying to help you out, but it’s simply an act. They want you to talk and make a mistake. Politely tell the officer that “I’ve been told to never answer any of these sorts of questions and I don’t want to answer them.” The answers to these questions will not help your position but can certainly hurt you.
3) Do Not Take The Officer’s Field Sobriety Test
The Police officer who made the stop will not inform that you have the right to refuse this test. The fact of the matter is that you DO have the right to refuse a field sobriety test. Generally speaking, it’s never a good idea to take a field sobriety test as it can only hurt your case, not help. When completing the report, the officer routinely exaggerates the smallest mistakes and then overlook everything that you did do correctly. It’s a lose lose situation for you. Even if you performed this test well, the police will still try to make it seem as if you failed the test. It’s nearly impossible to perform a field sobriety test perfectly even if you are completely sober.
4) Do Not Take The Preliminary Roadside Breath Test (PBT)
A preliminary breath test is the roadside breathalyzer (handheld device) that the officer will ask you to blow into while at the scene. Generally, you should always refuse this test…..even if you think that you will pass. First of all, the PBT device is completely unreliable and it cannot be trusted. In many cases, it gives a reading that is too high and the prosecutor will use this as evidence against you even though it’s not ethical. The state of Michigan isn’t worried about this ethical dilemma, they are simply trying to get a conviction and money in their pockets. In fact, this test is so unreliable that federal courts are prohibited to use the results in court. The best course of action is to tell the officer who stopped you that you simply want to refuse this test.
5) Speak To a Drunk Driving Attorney Immediately!
This sounds cliche, but an attorney is your best defense from getting taken advantage of by the Police. They are not your friend and they are actively looking for any opportunity to arrest you. The officer must give you a chance to talk to an attorney. Ensure that he writes down that you requested to speak to an attorney while at the scene.
6) Do Take The Chemical Test At The Police Station
If the police officer does indeed arrest you for drunk driving, he will make you take a chemical or blood test. Under Michigan’s implied consent laws, you are REQUIRED to take this test. If you refuse to perform this test, you will lose your driver’s license for 1 year regardless of the outcome of your DUI case. It is never a good idea to refuse this test regardless of your situation. It will only make the consequenses of a DUI more severe on top the suspension of your license.
7) Things Not To Say To The Police Officer During The Stop
This may seem obvious and logical, but you would be surprised what people do say. Here is a short list to give you the idea of what NOT to say:
- I’m way too drunk to perform a field sobriety test.
- I couldn’t pass this test even if I was completely sober.
- I really hate police officers.
- Let’s get this over with and just arrest me now.
- I know how this works. I’ve done this before.
- You would’ve never caught me if I wasn’t drunk.
- How much would it cost for you to forget about this DUI stop?
8) Write Down What Happened As Soon As You Can
While the event is still fresh in your mind, make a detailed description of your entire night. The DUI defense lawyer will need a timeline of everything that happened preceding, during, and after the DUI stop. This can include many things but what kind of alcohol you drank, when you drank it, how much you drank, where where you drinking, and who you drank with. Any possible detail that you can remember should be written down so your attorney can have the best picture of what exactly happened. Saving receipts for your alcohol and food purchases can also be helpful when creating a timeline. If there are witnesses who you are with, it’s also a good idea to make a note of them. Simply put, just write down everything that you can remember!
9) Be Polite To The Officer
This should go without saying, but it’s in your best interest to be polite to the officer who pulled you over. Even though we suggest that you refuse tests and keep the talking to a minimum, this doesn’t mean that you should be rude or uncooperative. Even if the police officer doesn’t treat with you respect, be the bigger person and be as polite as you can. You must remember that the officer has quite a bit of discretion during the stop. He could just simply give you a warning and let you go. He can let you call family or a friend to give you a ride. If he does in fact arrest you for drunk driving, he may be nice enough to let you leave the vehicle at the scene instead of towing it. It’s possible he could go easy on you when writing up the DUI report. Always try to be friendly to the officer and just be polite, it could end up saving you alot of time, money, and hassle down the line.
10) Call An Attorney
Call a lawyer in the morning or at your first opportunity possible. It is your best defense against being taken advantage of and against driving under the influence charges.