You are driving home after a dinner with friends where you had a couple drinks. Suddenly you see flashing lights in your rearview mirror, and you realize you've been speeding. You don't feel as if you'd had too much to drink, but you know you've had some alcohol. What do you do?
- Slow down, put on your blinker, and pull to the right side of the roadway as soon as you can do so. Keep your seatbelt on and keep your hands on the wheel. The officer will ask you to provide your driver's license, vehicle insurance and sometimes, vehicle registration. I always advise people to keep their insurance and registration in a quickly accessible place, away from other papers and clutter, such as over your sun visor. After you have provided this information to the officer, you have the right to politely inform the officer that you will not answer any further questions without first speaking to an attorney.
- If the officer requests that you exit your vehicle, you must comply with his request. If you do not, you could be charged with a crime.
- If you have exited your vehicle, you have the right to politely refuse all roadside sobriety tests. Please be aware however, that you can be subject to arrest, even if you refuse to perform these tests.
- If you are arrested, the officer will ask you to submit to either a blood, breath or urine test. If you refuse, your license will immediately be placed under suspension. Further, if you have been convicted of another drunk driving offense within the last 20 years, the mandatory minimum jail sentence may be doubled if you refuse. Alternatively, if you submit to a chemical test and are over the legal limit, you are more likely to be convicted of an OVI than if you refuse to take the test. In most cases, the test results will be used as evidence of your guilt.
Ultimately, the best advice is to always have a sober driver or take public transportation if you have been consuming alcohol. But, if you do find yourself in a sticky situation, consider our advice!