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What Should I Do if Pulled Over On Suspicion of DWI?

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What Should I Do If Pulled Over For DWI | New Orleans, LA Defense Attorney | Harmon, Smith & Vourvoulias, LLCImagine this scenario: You’re heading home late one night after having a few drinks with some co-workers, and as you are driving, you see flashing lights behind you. It’s very easy to panic in this instance; however, following these tips from, you can help prevent the situation from escalating into a DWI (DUI) charge:

  • Pull over. Start decelerating, and pull over to the side of the road after signaling when it’s safe. Normally, you should pull over to the right, but there are certain cases where this isn’t possible, be aware of your surroundings.
  • Remain in the vehicle. Make sure you keep your hands visible, preferably on the steering wheel, and that you turn on the interior lights if it is dark outside, so that the office can see you easily. The officer doesn’t know anything about you other than what’s stored in the police database, and you don’t know what information officers have received about similar vehicles in recent crimes. Do not step outside of the vehicle unless the officer asks.
  • Stay Calm. Any actions you take that might cause the officer to believe you are trying to hide or dispose of something can give reasonable suspicion to have you & your car searched. Reaching into the back of the car or moving objects around might constitute reasonable suspicion.
  • Follow the officer’s instructions. The officer is ultimately responsible for whether you drive off, or are taken in handcuffs to the station in the back of the police cruiser. Make sure you are following his or her instructions.
  • Don’t volunteer information. Only answer the officer’s questions, don’t give extra information, and don’t “mouth-off” to the officer. Make sure your passengers follow the same rules; you can always argue your case in court if charges are filed.
  • Don’t behave suspiciously. Most police cars have equipment that records traffic stops, but even without the video, the officer will be observing your behavior for a potential police report.
  • How much did you drink? Officers routinely ask this question, and often times it is answered with an estimated guess, which could come to haunt you later. It’s always best to answer that you cannot recall exactly what you had to drink.
  • BAC testing. Refusing to take a BAC test may result in harsher penalties than taking one due to implied consent laws that exist in every state. However, if you’re extremely intoxicated, it might be better to refuse the test, depending on your BAC concentration.
  • Roadside tests. You might not be required to consent to certain roadside tests such as the “walk and turn” test. Ask if a test is voluntary and if it is, you may refuse to take it.
  • Make sure you’re dealing with a police officer. If you doubt that the person who pulled you over is a police officer, ask to talk to a supervisor to verify.

We hope that if you ever find yourself in the misfortune of having to go through a DWI stop, that these tips will help you. If you ever are pulled over for a DWI, contact an experienced Louisiana DWI attorney right away for the help and guidance you need.

This article’s image comes courtesy of Flickr user, Jeffrey Smith

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About Gary Smith

Gary is a founding member of Harmon, Smith & Vourvoulias L.L.C. Gary represents clients whose cases involve maritime and admiralty law and litigation. In addition to practicing law, Gary serves as a State Senator in the Louisiana Senate.Gary Smith's Google+ Profile

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