The cops have pulled you over and accused you of driving under the influence — what you do next can have a big impact on your case if you have to go to court for DUI charges.
Being pulled over for any reason is stressful and upsetting, but if you can keep your head about you and follow good advice while you deal with the police, you’ll put yourself in a better position to fight any charges later. Here’s what you should do if you’re pulled over for a DUI.
Stop Your Car and Prepare
Begin looking for a safe place to stop your vehicle as soon as you realize the officer means to pull you over. Though you’ll probably feel jumpy, try to stay calm and keep your movements smooth and predictable. Roll down your window and keep your hands on the steering wheel.
While you wait for the officer to approach, focus on calming your nerves so you can have the best interaction possible. Don’t go through your glove box or bag for your license, registration, or any other documentation until the officer asks for them so that you stay still while they approach from behind your car.
Be Civil but Short
One of the most important things to remember if you get pulled over for a DUI is to avoid saying anything that isn’t necessary. Many people arrested for driving under the influence are convicted based at least partially on information they voluntarily gave the officer at the time they were pulled over.
Be polite and respectful, but don’t give any information that isn’t necessary. You can simply politely tell the officer that you’ve been advised not to answer any questions. You do need to cooperate with the police to give your name and documentation, such as your license, registration, and proof of insurance.
Know Your Rights for Sobriety Tests and Vehicle Searches
The officer might ask you to submit to a field sobriety test if they’ve pulled you over on suspicion of DUI. Drivers typically have the right to refuse field sobriety tests and breathalyzer tests officers ask them to submit to prior to arrest.
Once you’ve been arrested for a DUI, your rights to refuse testing without penalties change. Arresting officers in Illinois are required to advise you of the penalties for refusing a chemical test before they administer the test. You can also receive penalties if you refuse to submit to a requested chemical test after a personal injury or fatal vehicle accident.
Illinois state law lays out automatic driver’s license suspensions called statutory summary suspensions for drivers who refuse to submit to chemical testing.
Refusal of chemical testing also makes you ineligible for a monitoring device driving permit, which is a restricted driving permit that allows some drivers convicted of DUIs to continue driving a vehicle equipped with a breath alcohol ignition interlock device.
The automatic suspension is for one year if the driver hasn’t had a DUI or a prior statutory summary suspension in the last five years. If you have had a DUI or a statutory summary suspension in the last five years and you refuse to submit to chemical testing, your suspension will be for three years.
Stay Calm If Arrested
If the officer decides to arrest you for a DUI, comply with their requests. Don’t resist arrest in any way and don’t say anything that could incriminate you further. It’s best to keep quiet until you’re booked into jail. Contact your attorney as soon as possible.
Don’t agree to answer any questions for the police until you speak to an attorney, even if they try to convince you that things will be better for you if you submit yourself to their questioning immediately without your attorney.
Write down or tell your attorney all of the details of your arrest as soon as you can when the details are fresh in your mind. Include details about your behavior and statements as well as the officer’s and include dates, times, and locations whenever possible.
If you’ve been pulled over for driving under the influence, contact us today for a free initial consultation about your case. Our experienced attorneys can help you determine how to proceed with your case to get the best possible outcome.