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The Holidays Are Upon Us: What to Do If You Are Pulled Over for DUI

December 4, 2020 DUI/OWI/DWI

The holidays are a time of increased DUI enforcement in the Ann Arbor area. While there may not be as many office parties and other holiday events this year, people will still get together in their homes to celebrate. As a result, it’s safe to assume that police will continue to aggressively crack down on drivers they suspect are driving while under the influence. 

Obviously, the best way to avoid a DUI is to not drive if you have been drinking or under the influence of drugs. However, it’s important to understand that you have rights in the event that you do get pulled over. In the event that you are charged with DUI, the best thing you can do is speak with an Ann Arbor DUI lawyer as soon as possible. 

Know Your Rights When You Are Pulled Over

Unless you are stopped at a DUI checkpoint, every DUI begins with a traffic stop. The police can stop you for almost any reason, such as a broken tail light – it doesn’t need to be based on suspicion of DUI. Most people are inclined to cooperate with the officer’s instructions but don’t realize that the police use several tactics from the very outset to help build their case. 

  • You have the right to remain silent. The officer will ask you several questions about where you are coming from, where you are going, or whether you have had anything to drink. Most people will answer these questions because they are afraid to appear uncooperative. However, you are not obligated to answer these questions. Keep in mind that your passengers also have the right to remain silent. 
  • You are not obligated to roll your window down all the way. This is a tactic that police employ to allow them to smell alcohol or marijuana. You only need to roll the window down far enough so that you can communicate with them clearly.
  • Do not consent to a search. The police must have a warrant to search your vehicle unless you give them permission.  

Remain calm, turn on your interior lights, keep your hands on the steering wheel, and do not be disrespectful towards the officer. Do not search for your license and registration until instructed to do so. 

The Field Sobriety Tests

If the officer has reason to suspect that you are driving under the influence, they will likely ask you to perform field sobriety tests. Under Michigan law, you are not required to comply with this request. However, be aware that the officer may still arrest you for DUI and the prosecution may attempt to use your refusal as evidence against you. 

Field sobriety tests are often administered incorrectly and the results are often unreliable. An experienced Ann Arbor DUI lawyer can review the tests performed and determine whether they were administered correctly. 

Charged with DUI? Contact Ann Arbor DUI Lawyer Sam Bernstein

For most people, DUIs are some of the most serious charges you can face. A conviction could have long term consequences and cost you thousands of dollars in fines. If you’ve been charged with DUI, you need a lawyer who will protect your rights and make sure you get a fair result. Call us at 734-883-9584 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case and how we can help.