What to do if You Are Pulled Over For a DUI in Washington

It does not take much to get pulled over by the police in the Tacoma area under the suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs. If it is late at night (or very early in the morning) or you are driving near a popular bar, and you make even one small mistake, an officer may have enough to suspect a DUI and stop you. The problem could be as small as forgetting to use your turn signal, conducting a rolling stop, or swerving within your lane.

In this situation, you need to know how to behave in order to avoid escalation. Though it can be hard to do under pressure, it’s important to be polite; and most importantly its important to avoid compromising your own rights. What you do when you are pulled over can stop you from getting arrested, or at very least improve your lawyers position in fighting the case. If you are arrested, be sure to contact a Tacoma DUI lawyer as soon as possible.

What to do When You Are Pulled Over for a DUI

When you are being pulled over by the police, the best thing to do is to follow a certain set or rules and procedures:

  • Stop the car as soon as if safe: Once you see the flashing lights behind you, pull your vehicle over at the nearest safe place.
  • Identify yourself: YGive your name and driver’s license to the police. Do not argue when an officer asks for your ID and proof of insurance.
  • Exit the vehicle, if asked(and ONLY if asked): Getting out of your vehicle does not obligate you to do anything else, such as answer questions, take a roadside breath test, or submit to field sobriety tests.
  • Remain silent: After identifying yourself, you have the right to remain silent. You do not have to answer the officers’ questions. If you wish to remain silent, tell the officer that you are invoking your right to remain silent until you have an attorney present.
  • The roadside breath test: An officer may ask you to breath into a small, portable breath test. You are not legally obligated to take this test. However, your refusal will not help you avoid an arrest. If the officer suspects you of a DUI, you will still probably be arrested.
  • Field sobriety tests: There are three standardized field sobriety tests, which are physical tests officers use to gain clues that you are inebriated. You do not have to submit to any of these tests. You may politely refuse and you cannot be punished.
  • The arrest: • If you are arrested, do not resist or argue with the police. This is not the time to prove your innocence. It is inconvenient and intimidating to be arrested. However, you must go through the proper process to protect your rights and fight for your exoneration.
  • An evidentiary breath test: If you are arrested, you may be asked to take an official breath test at a police station or medical facility. A refusal at this stage of the investigation is generally a bad idea. While it might seem like refusing, makes it harder for the prosecutor to prove a DUI, a refusal will generally hurt your case. Refusal of the BAC exposes you to additional civil and criminal penalties, and the prosecutor may use your refusal as evidence that you knew you would fail the test.
  • A blood test: You may also be asked to take a blood test in addition to or instead of a breath test. If the police do not have a warrant requiring a blood sample then you have every right to refuse. If the police obtain a warrant for a blood test and you refuse, then you face harsher punishments, as well as the potential of a forcible blood draw.
  • Ask for an independent test: You have the right to ask for independent test to determine your blood alcohol concentration. When you are arrested, you can ask the officer to take you directly to the hospital to have your blood drawn and have your own test completed.
  • Ask for an attorney: Make it clear to the police that you will not answer any questions until you have an attorney present. Once you are given the opportunity to contact someone, call a DUI lawyer from The Law Offices of Morgan Fletcher Benfield PLLC or ask a trusted family member or friend to do so.

Let a DUI Lawyer Help You

Just because you are arrested for a DUI does not mean you have to assume the worst. By calling an experienced Tacoma DUI lawyer right away, you have a greater chance of having the charges dropped or reduced. With the complexity of DUI’s, there are generally a number of legal issues that can be used to get you the best result possible.

To learn more about how a DUI defense lawyer can help when facing DUI charges, call The Law Offices of Morgan Fletcher Benfield PLLC at (253) 518-3643 or contact the office online to schedule an initial consultation.