4 Tips to Remember when Pulled Over for DUI in Illinois

pulled over for duiIf you are pulled over for a drunk driving, the first thing to remember is not to panic.  Do not make any rash decisions, and do not attempt to “talk your way out” of the DUI.

If you are pulled over for a DUI it all boils down to 4 simple rules:

  1. Be polite and follow the officer’s basic requests.
  2. Do not answer any questions, and immediately ask to speak to your lawyer.
  3. Do not perform any sobriety tests, and do not give a breath sample.
  4. As soon as possible call a DUI defense lawyer.  You rights and your driver’s license need to be protected.

Pull over quickly and safely when the police turn their lights on.  Find a clear, lighted area to park in if possible.  Keep your hands on the steering wheel, so the officer can see them at all times. Do not reach into your glove box or center console without first telling the officer what you are doing.

When asked, give your driver’s license, proof of insurance, and registration to the officer.  Do not say any more than is required: give your name and address, but do not answer any questions about where you were or where you are going.  Never admit to drinking any alcohol or taking any drugs.  Do not lie about it, simply state that you will not answer any questions until you have spoken to your lawyer.

If requested to do so, step out of the car and stand perfectly still.  Follow the officer’s directions if he wants you to walk to the rear of your car.  Walk as calmly and steadily as possible.

When the officer tells you that he is going to have you perform “some tests,” politely state that you are refusing any and all tests. Do not perform any Field Sobriety Tests, such as:

  • Standing on one leg
  • Walking a straight line
  • Following an object with your eyes

There is no penalty, and you will not get into any trouble for refusing to do these tests.

If asked to give a breath sample, known as a “breathalyzer,” again politely refuse.  Do not agree to give a breath sample unless you are 100% positive that you have had NO alcohol that day.  The only penalty for refusing the breath test is a suspension of your license. In many cases a DUI defense lawyer can get you back driving quickly, even if you refuse the breath test.  If you do provide a breath sample you are giving the police very strong evidence against you that they will use to prosecute you for DUI.

The police will try to scare and intimidate you. Do not give in and do not take the breath test. They will promise to let you go if only you give them the breath sample.  They are not telling you the truth.  If you blow over the limit they will arrest you no matter what they have promised.

Being pulled over for DUI is a scary experience. But knowing your rights and following these tips will make the process much less nerve-wracking.

Top 3 Most Common Field Sobriety Tests

Field sobriety testField sobriety tests are conducted by police officers when they suspect a driver may be intoxicated. Police use these tests to gain evidence of a person’s intoxication so they can make an arrest for DUI. However, these tests are often a poor indication of a person’s actual level of intoxication. Many people are simply uncoordinated and can’t pass the tests dead sober.

Here are three of the most common field sobriety tests:

  1. Walk & Turn. This is a very simple test in which you walk in a straight line, heel-to-toe for about 10 paces, before turning (pivoting off the front foot), and retracing your steps. Sometimes an officer will have you count the number of steps you’re taking as well. This is to test your ability to multitask.
  2. Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus. In this test, the officer will place a pen in front of your face and ask you to follow it with your eyes as he moves it right to left.  You are only allowed to move your eyes to follow the pen, moving your head will result in failure. Here the officer is checking for nystagmus – the involuntary jerking of the eyes that intensifies with alcohol consumption.
  3. One legged stand. This one is just what it sounds like. The officer will ask you to raise your foot six inches from the ground and count out loud. Additionally, you are required to keep your arms down at your sides (instead of using them for balance). Here the officer is looking for your ability to balance your body. Swaying, flailing your arms, or putting your foot down, are all seen as signs of possible impairment. This test is very subjective, as some people simply have terrible balance and wouldn’t be able to ace the test sober.

As you can tell, these tests are incredibly subjective. Officers only use them to gain reasonable suspicion that you’ve been drunk driving, so they can arrest you and administer a BAC test. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to know your rights, and contact a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.