DUI arrest: how you act at the scene can make a difference

| Nov 16, 2020 | DUI

It’s the scenario nobody wants to be in. A Valdosta police officer or Georgia state trooper has pulled you over. The squad car’s flashing blue lights fill your vehicle as the officer walks up to your window. What you do and say over the next several minutes could mean the difference between being allowed to drive on or spending the night in jail on a DUI charge.

While the only foolproof way to avoid getting arrested for DUI is not to drive, there are things you can do to reduce your chances of the officer arresting you. Here are a few tips.

Vehicle maintenance

Before they can pull you over, a police officer, sheriff’s deputy, or state trooper must have probable cause. That means they need to have a reasonable suspicion that you are committing or have just committed a crime. One common source of probable cause is vehicle maintenance problems like a burnt-out brake light, headlight or even tag lights. Keeping your vehicle in good working order gives the police one less excuse to stop you.

Be prepared

Keep copies of your vehicle registration and insurance card readily available within reach.  Have them ready and in-hand when the officer approaches.  This preparation can reduce a claim by the officer that you were fumbling around looking for your information.

Don’t talk more than necessary

When the officer asks you questions, they are trying to gather evidence against you. Be polite, but resist the temptation to try to talk your way out of the situation. Telling the officer, “I only had a couple of drinks,” may not keep you out of jail.

Don’t resist the officer

If you believe that the officer is violating your civil rights, there may not be much you can do about it at the time. The officer is armed and has the power to arrest you for resisting arrest on top of driving under the influence. Instead of trying to protect your rights, make it clear you are not resisting. Keep your eyes and ears open and tell your defense attorney everything that happened. They will tell you if your rights were violated. If they were, your lawyer will fight to get some or all of the evidence against you kept out of court.