If a police officer witnesses you commit a traffic violation, they will most likely pull you over. If this happens, one of the things the officer will be looking for is evidence that you have been driving while intoxicated. Once that evidence is found, the officer has probable cause to charge you with DWI. When this happens, it is important to know what to expect, how to respond, and what to do next.
Getting pulled over
If you are pulled over, the officer will have several questions for you. They will
most likely ask you whether or not you have been drinking, as they are trying to find evidence that you were driving while intoxicated. If you indicate that you have been drinking, the officer will go on to ask you how many drinks you
had, what kind of drinks they were, and what the time period was, among other questions. The officer’s objective is to establish that you have been drinking and that you are now breaking the law by driving while still under the
influence of alcohol. You may also be asked to step out of your vehicle in order to perform some standardized field sobriety tests.
How to respond
If a police officer pulls you over, you should answer the general questions they ask. You won’t say anything incriminating by telling the officer your name and producing your driver’s license, insurance, and registration if you have them. If, however, the officer asks you whether you consumed any alcohol that day, you have the right to respectfully decline to answer the question. Under your Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination, you are not required to tell the officer if you have been drinking. If the officer persists, simply say that you are exercising your right to remain silent and that you would like to speak with a lawyer. This is particularly important once you are charged with a DWI. If this happens, the officer is required to allow you time to call your lawyer, who can advise you on whether you should continue to speak to the police officer and what you should do next.
What to do
If you have been pulled over for DWI, it is important that you know your rights. At Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria, our DWI lawyers have a comprehensive knowledge of a client’s rights, the potential penalties that may arise, and the possible weaknesses in charges against a client. If you have been charged with DWI, contact our attorneys to find out what to do next.
This article does not purport to give legal advice and is for informational purposes only.