Pulled over for DUI in Metairie

Share Button

If you’re driving around one night and happen to get pulled over by a police officer on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI), you may not be sure how to act. This is especially true if you’ve never been stopped before on any charge, let alone a DWI.

Even if you’re completely innocent (i.e. haven’t been drinking at all), the way you act may incriminate you. Many individuals get nervous around police officers, especially when they are suspected of illegal activity. This can falsely lead a police officer to suspect that they are guilty of something.

From our team of Harmon, Smith & Vourvoulias criminal defense attorneys serving Metairie and the surrounding areas in Louisiana, here are some things to keep in mind when you are pulled over on suspicion of a DWI.

1. Pull over when it is safe

The first thing to remember when pulled over for DUI is to remain calm and compliant with law enforcement. Nervousness is natural in such situations, but it’s essential not to escalate the encounter by becoming confrontational or uncooperative. Keep your hands visible, follow the officer’s instructions, and be respectful throughout the interaction. This will help create a better impression and potentially mitigate the consequences later on.

2. Know your rights and Louisiana law

It’s crucial to understand your rights during a DUI stop in Metairie. You have the right to remain silent, and you do not have to answer any questions beyond providing your identification and registration. You also have the right to refuse field sobriety tests and preliminary breath tests. However, it’s important to note that Louisiana operates under “implied consent” laws, which means refusing a chemical test (usually a breathalyzer or blood test) can result in an automatic driver’s license suspension. And remember – you are not under arrest (yet).

3. Field sobriety tests

Field sobriety tests are subjective to interpretation, and they are voluntary. You do not have to submit to them. But if you do, even if you aren’t intoxicated, you could appear intoxicated.

Field sobriety tests are designed to assess a driver’s physical and cognitive abilities, and they are often administered during a DUI stop. These tests include the walk-and-turn, one-leg stand, and horizontal gaze nystagmus (eye movement) test. While they are meant to determine impairment, many factors can affect your performance, including nervousness, medical conditions, and environmental conditions. You have the right to decline these tests, and doing so may prevent potentially damaging evidence against you.

4. Remain calm and courteous with the police officer

Always remain calm and courteous when dealing with a police officer. Don’t get mad or offended at the questions you are asked. While prime-time television shows and even some news stories have led us to believe that every cop is corrupt, the vast majority are honest, good people just trying to do their job and keep the general public safe.

However, if there is any misconduct in the way the officer handles your encounter, it’s important to let your criminal defense attorney know as soon as possible.

Possible consequences of a DUI in Metairie

Understanding the potential consequences of a DUI conviction in Metairie is essential for making informed decisions about your defense. These consequences can include:

  • Fines and court costs
  • License suspension
  • Mandatory alcohol education programs
  • Probation
  • Ignition interlock device installation
  • Increased insurance premiums
  • Possible jail time

The severity of these consequences can vary depending on factors such as prior DUI convictions, BAC level, and whether there were any aggravating circumstances involved, such as accidents or injuries.

Your best bet against these consequences is to work with a Louisiana defense attorney to build a strong defense against DUI charges. This may involve challenging the legality of the traffic stop, the accuracy of field sobriety tests, or other details specific to your case.

Contact Harmon, Smith & Vourvoulias

Being pulled over for DUI in Metairie is a serious matter that requires careful navigation of the legal system. By remaining calm, knowing your rights, and seeking legal counsel, you can increase your chances of achieving the best possible outcome for your case. Remember that every DUI case is unique, and having an experienced criminal defense attorney by your side can make a significant difference in protecting your rights and future. If you or someone you know is facing DUI charges in Metairie, do not hesitate to contact Harmon, Smith & Vourvoulias today.

Share Button
Categorized as Blog, DUI, DWI

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