If a police officer has reason to believe you’re under the influence of alcohol, maybe because you are swerving on the highway or fail to react to a changing traffic signal, they’re likely to pull you over to find out what’s going on.
It doesn’t matter if you’re 100 percent sober or have alcohol in your system, this type of traffic stop is every bit as scary as it sounds.
Fortunately, there are some key steps you can take to put your mind at ease. Here are five things you should do:
- Pull over as quickly as possible: If you’re on the highway, move your vehicle to the shoulder of the road and put on your hazard lights. If you’re in a city setting, find a nearby parking lot or safe area on the side of the road.
- Stay in your vehicle: Upon stopping, don’t give in to the temptation to get out of your vehicle. Stay where you are, keep your hands on the wheel and wait for the officer to approach your window.
- Be respectful: Even if you don’t think the officer had the right to pull you over, now’s not the time to cause a fuss. When you’re respectful, there’s a greater chance of leaving the scene without any trouble.
- Don’t say too much: For example, it’s a mistake to tell the officer that you’ve been drinking, but it’s been several hours since you last consumed an alcoholic beverage. The more you talk, the greater chance there is that you’ll say something that sounds bad.
- Stay calm if you’re put under arrest: Depending on what happens during the stop, the officer may ask you to take a field sobriety test. If you’re eventually put under arrest, stay calm and remain quiet.
Once you’re processed and released, the first order of business is to gather as much information as possible. This will help you better understand what led to your arrest, as well as the charges you face.
It’s then time to learn more about the many DUI defense strategies you can employ. Once you settle on the right one, you’ll feel better about your ability to protect your legal rights in Pennsylvania when your day in court arrives.
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