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A DUI stop can be a harrowing experience for anyone, and probably more so if you feel you might be intoxicated.
While you can't rewind and undo that last glass of Pinot or gin and tonic, here are 10 things you'll want to avoid during a DUI stop that may help you stay out of (more) legal trouble:
- Don't refuse a Breathalyzer. While it may initially seem like a good idea to play the odds with the Field Sobriety Test (FST) and refuse a Breathalyzer test, every state has laws which call for your license to be suspended if you refuse, even if you're sober.
- Don't refuse the FST. Many DUI stops will involve you taking a FST to determine sobriety, and refusing a test can lead to your arrest. If you're sober and you comply with the test, and for some reason you're still arrested, then you may be able to sue for false arrest later.
- Don't antagonize the officer. Even passengers can be arrested for not complying with officer instructions during a DUI stop, as Reese Witherspoon proved during her "Legally Blonde" moment with a Georgia state trooper.
- Don't have a child in the car with you. Other than looking like a drunken idiot and a criminal in front of your children, having a kid in your car when you're intoxicated can lead to a child endangerment charge.
- Don't flaunt your medical marijuana ID card. Driving under the influence of pot, medicinal or not, can get you a DUI even in states where medical and medicinal marijuana is legal. So don't go flashing your pot patient card like it's made of DUI repellant.
- Don't tell your officer about your prescriptions. Just like legally prescribed marijuana, your legal prescription medications can land you with a DUI charge too. So don't gab to the officer about how you drive a little jittery when you're on Wellbutrin. But if the officer asks if you've taken any medication, don't lie, because you can face charges for that as well.
- Don't forget your license, registration. A DUI stop may seem dire compared to a normal traffic stop, but you can still get dinged for not having your license, registration, proof of insurance, etc.
- Don't hide your gun. Officer safety is a huge issue during DUI stops, and courts side with police restraining drivers and searching vehicles if they believe there is a weapon within reach. To prevent police from searching your vehicle, inform them if you have a gun in your car and tell them specifically where it is.
- Don't be rude and combative. Being rude to an officer can be a surefire way to an obstruction of justice or resisting arrest charge, and even loud music may be the sticking point to your arrest.
- Don't run and hide. Even if you are completely blasted, there is nothing to be gained by running into the sweet embrace of night when pulled over for a DUI. There are not enough rocks or cacti in the world that can hide you from the additional charges you'll face by fleeing.
Along with these "don'ts" for drivers, there are also many things that law-enforcement officers shouldn't do during a DUI stop that can get a DUI charge thrown out of court. That's why if you're unfortunate enough to get arrested, you may want to get an experienced DUI lawyer on your side.