If a police officer has any reason to believe you’re under the influence of alcohol, they’re sure to pull your vehicle to the side of the road to learn more.
Of course, just because this happens doesn’t mean you’ll be put under arrest. There are steps you can take to protect your legal rights, with the goal of driving away from the scene without trouble.
Here are some of the most important steps to take:
- Say as little as possible: Not only is the officer listening closely, but they’re probably wearing a camera that will catch everything. Don’t feel compelled to share too much information, and never answer a question you don’t understand.
- Remain polite: As the officer approaches your window, put it down and then keep your hands on the steering wheel. When asked if you know why you were pulled over, a simple “no” will do.
- Don’t explain your legal rights: You know you have legal rights, but you don’t have to explain them to the officer. The one exception is telling the officer that you’re invoking your right to remain silent, should it be necessary to do so.
- Don’t agree to a field sobriety test: In the state of Texas, you’re not legally required to partake in a field sobriety test. Furthermore, there’s no penalty for refusal.
- Refuse a breath and blood test: If you’re asked to submit to a breath and/or blood test, respectfully turn it down. The only time you should do this is if you are 100% confident that there’s no alcohol in your system. Even if you only had one drink, it can push your blood alcohol content level past the legal limit.
Depending on the way things unfold, the officer may tell you that you’re under arrest. Don’t resist, but instead go along with the officer’s requests. While doing so, avoid saying too much.
When you take these steps, you’ll feel better about your ability to protect yourself during a DWI traffic stop. It’s your hope that you’re not put under arrest, but if you are it doesn’t guarantee a conviction and the penalties associated with it. You still have the opportunity to defend yourself in court.