What to do if stopped for a DUI/DWI?
- In Pennsylvania, everyone who drives a car on the road has given “implied consent” for police or law enforcement to conduct a Breathalyzer Test. If you refuse the breathalyzer, PennDOT can still suspend your driver’s license even if you’re not convicted in criminal court. Driving is a privilege in Pennsylvania and PennDOT can impose a suspension through administrative channels which are separate from criminal proceedings. Even if your criminal defense lawyer wins your DUI case, PennDOT can still suspend your driver’s license. While your attorney can fight the suspension in civil court it may be an uphill battle which you won’t likely win!
If you take the Breathalyzer Test or Blood Test you will not only avoid a potential civil penalty but it can also improve your criminal case. A good criminal defense attorney can dispute the results of a Blood Test or Breathalyzer and there is a lot of litigation over the validity of Breathalyzer Tests in Pennsylvania. I have written previous articles on breath test science, field sobriety tests, DUI probable cause, and Motions to Suppress Evidence in a DUI case. In addition to these articles I encourage you to read my book: “5 Way to Fight and Win Your PA DUI Case” and to visit my video page.
- Don’t Answer Any Questions
If you are stopped for suspicion of DUI, police more than likely are going to arrest you not matter what you tell them. A typical question from a police officer is “have you been drinking tonight” or “where are you coming from?” People often will tell the officer they are coming from a friend’s house or a party and just had one drink. They are better off telling the officer that they aren’t going to answer any questions but that he is free to give a Breathalyzer Test or a Field Sobriety Test. Police officers are trained in the law and while not attorneys, they understand that everyone has the constitutional right to remain silent. Most police officers will respect this right and simply continue with the traffic stop by giving you a field sobriety test or taking you into custody.
Answering questions will never improve your DUI case because the officer is probably asking the question because he either smells alcohol on your breath or observed your car swerving or violating some traffic law. This is what gave the officer probable cause or reasonable suspicion to stop your car in the first place. If you answer a question it will only hurt your DUI case because you’ve given the police and the prosecution more circumstantial and possible direct evidence of your intoxication. This could later lead to a conviction at trial or a judge denying your attorney’s Pre-trial Motion to Suppress Evidence. A statement like “I only had a little to drink,” or “I am coming from a party,” can persuade a judge that the police officer had probable cause to arrest you. Its always better to remain silent and simply cooperate with the police officer with regards to field sobriety tests, Breathalyzer Tests, and blood tests but never make any statements verbal or written.
I can’t stress enough however, that refusing to answer question doesn’t mean acting like a jerk to the police officer! Acting like a jerk will never help your case and will only make it worse. You could actually create additional criminal charges like disorderly conduct, resisting arrest which could cause to the prosecutor or DA to argue that you acted in this manner because of a consciousness of guilt
- Tell the Police about Your Physical Limitations
A standard field sobriety test requires that a person perform certain movements so that a police officer can assess a person’s motor skills. These tests, however, are often difficult to perform even for a person who has not consumed any alcohol. These aren’t movements that we perform everyday in our daily lives.
There are three standard field sobriety tests –
(1) the walk and turn,
(2) the one leg stand test, and
(3) the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test.
Why Hire An Attorney for a DUI?
Have you been arrested for a Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of drugs and/or alcohol in the Philadelphia Metropolitan area? Are you unsure of whether or not hiring a lawyer can help your situation? Do you know how to go about choosing a DUI Defense lawyer? You may want to consider hiring a DUI defense attorney to discuss defending your DUI case.
With offices in NJ & PA our attorneys have years experience representing people in Southeastern Pennsylvania who have been arrested on DUI/DWI charges. They know the potential penalties & consequences as well as possible alternatives available, such as ARD, per Pennsylvania law.
Having an Attorney on Your Side
In any criminal charge, including DUI, there are certain rights an individual has that are in need of being protected. At times these right may be violated by law enforcement officials. Our lawyers completely understand these rights and helps to protect them.
Challenging Admission of Evidence
As our defense attorneys devotes a large portion of their practice to defending DUI cases they are aware that evidentiary issues may come up. These can potentially jeopardize the success of the case. With that in mind, they will fight to suppress illegally obtained & improper evidence regarding your case such as your blood or breath sample following your arrest.
Dealing with Prosecutors
With many years of defending DUI cases, our DUI lawyers know what is involved in working towards a resolution with the courts. Often times, there are plea deals to be worked out if it will benefit both sides interest. They are very good at negotiating these deals so that your criminal record is less impacted. As well, jail time and fines can be lessened.
Understanding Legal Options
The criminal justice system can be overwhelming & confusing to anyone. This holds true whether you are a first time DUI offender or subsequent offender. Our team of PA DUI lawyers will help you to fully explore your options so you can make the most educated decision regarding your case.
To schedule a free consultation regarding your DUI case please contact them via email here.