Being accused of driving under the influence will no doubt be a confusing and scary experience, especially during first contact with police.
Even though they may have never touched a drug or drop of alcohol in their entire lives, suspects of driving under the influence charges should never let their emotions run away with them in front of police and investigators. Not only does it do absolutely nothing positive for a person’s defense, but it can actually hurt it. Some police officers admit to piling on charges for no other reason than that they felt slighted or disrespected by the suspect being dealt with. The tactic is a great way to scare an unknowledgeable suspect, but it is one that rarely results in solid prosecutions.
Unfortunately, many police officers will feel slighted or disrespected by the mere fact that a suspect has decided to exercise his or her rights.
Kill ’em with Kindness
Perhaps the best way to avoid unnecessary and exaggerated charges is to treat police officers with respect and to respond to their requests and questions as politely as possible. Waving the hands around, shouting at police, calling police officers names and generally disrespecting police as they attempt to do their jobs is the quickest way to encourage the officer to look for every discrepancy and potential charge possible. If they have been pulled over for allegedly driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, then this is the best way to turn a bad situation worse.
When a suspect of DUI or any other crime decides to exercise his or her rights, it is best for them to do so calmly and politely. If police ask the suspect to submit to a field sobriety test on the side of the road, which is not generally required, the person can politely refuse. If ordered to step out of the vehicle, the person can do so without yanking off a seatbelt or slamming any doors. If asked any questions, the person can refuse to provide an answer without cursing, shouting, or yelling.
This may not guarantee that a police officer won’t be offended, but at least it will give the investigating officer as little ammunition against the suspect as possible. After all, a report that a DUI suspect was cool, calm and collected during police contact is far better than a report that the DUI suspect was belligerent and disrespectful.
It may not be against the law to hurt a police officer’s feelings, but being nice definitely won’t hurt.
Speak with Counsel
When all is said and done and the charges, if any, are filed by the area prosecutor, then suspects of driving under the influence should immediately contact an experienced DUI defense attorney. The law may allow self representation in DUI cases, but this is rarely advised due to the fact that most people don’t have the knowledge of the law necessary to maintain their rights and ensure that they receive as fair a trial under the law as possible.