What To Do At DWI Traffic Stop in Louisiana

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As experienced DWI defense attorneys in New Orleans, we are often asked what one should do when stopped at a DWI checkpoint. While every DWI case is different, there are certain commonalities and certain things to watch out for from law enforcement.

However, every DWI case benefits from the help of a dedicated Louisiana DWI lawyer. At Harmon, Smith & Vourvoulias, we are here to help.

Below, we’ve included some of the questions you may be asked when stopped at a DWI checkpoint in Louisiana — as well as some questions you may have after the stop — and what you should know about this process.

1. Have you been drinking today?

Driving while intoxicated charges (DWI, or sometimes referred to as DUI, or driving under the influence) are no joke. And it’s best to start off this process on the right foot.

So if you’re asked whether you’ve been drinking, remember that everything you say and do is likely being recorded by audio or video, or will be written in the police report. The correct answer is always, “No,” not, “I drank two beers.”

2. What if I am ordered to get out of my vehicle?

You must exit the vehicle. If you do not, you will likely be arrested. Be sure to stand straight up, hands out of your pockets. Do not lean on your car.

If you are sober, act sober. If you are not sober, act sober, not casual or relaxed.

3. What if I am ordered to take a field sobriety test?

Refuse the test by politely declining, saying, “No, thank you, I would prefer to not do that.”

Do not walk, do not talk, do not “follow my finger.”

There is nothing to be gained here, and plenty to lose if you “fail.”

You are not legally required to take any field sobriety tests. Most officers have already decided to arrest you when they administer a field sobriety test, they are only searching for additional evidence to use in court. The results of the test are completely subjective to the interpretation of the officer.

4. What if I am ordered to take a breath test?

You cannot legally refuse to take a breath test. Refusing may result in automatic suspension of your license.

If you are sober, submit to the breath test. If given a choice, choose the more accurate blood test.

If you are not sober, we still do not recommend taking the breath test, regardless of the consequences.

5. If I test over the legal limit, does that mean I’m guilty?

You are not yet guilty. All sobriety tests are merely evidence against you and not conclusive proof that you violated the law.

At this stage, it’s important to hire legal counsel to advise you as your case moves forward.

Contact Harmon, Smith & Vourvoulias Today

There are many factors your DWI defense lawyer can consider when planning your defense. This includes the conduct of officers, the accuracy of the test, and the administration of the test, as well as the timing of the test. If you have been charged with a DWI after being stopped at a DWI checkpoint in Louisiana, contact our experienced DWI attorneys right away.

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By George Vourvoulias

George is a founding member and managing member of Harmon, Smith & Vourvoulias L.L.C., a New Orleans law firm. George concentrates his practice in maritime personal injury, construction litigation, personal injury, workers' compensation, medical malpractice, and DUI defense. George Vourvoulias's Google+ Profile