If you’re driving home and are stopped by the police, anything you do from that point on could affect your case. If the officer accuses you of driving while intoxicated, what you do next could influence if the officer decides to arrest you or let you go free.
You should know that you absolutely can get a DUI even if you haven’t crashed. An officer can test you for your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at any time during a traffic stop. When you accepted your license, you agreed to this implied consent for a Breathalyzer test.
What can you do during the stop to prevent an arrest or charge?
Depending on the circumstances, you may not be able to prevent an arrest. However, there are some things you can do to help yourself.
First, remember that you are obligated to provide the officer with your personal identifying information, like your license and registration. Proof of insurance is also often requested.
After this, you don’t owe the officer any explanation of where you’re coming from or where you’re going. You don’t have to admit to drinking or even roll down your window enough for the officer to smell your breath. As long as you can provide the information they need and are respectful, you’ll help your case.
If the officer believes that you’re showing signs of impairment, then they may ask you to step out of your vehicle to perform field sobriety tests or to take a Breathalyzer test. Technically, the only test you need to take is the Breathalyzer test. If you know you’re well over the limit, it may be advantageous to refuse, but in most cases, taking this test is typical. If you refuse, you could lose your license immediately.
If your blood alcohol concentration comes back at .08% or greater, you will likely be arrested. Below that, the officer can be reasonable and may decide to allow you to travel home. However, you can get a DUI at any BAC, so it is in your best interests to be respectful and to follow legal instructions. If the officer wants to arrest you, go with them but ask to speak with your attorney.