One of the most common questions we get asked is this: “what do I do if I get pulled over for a DUI investigation?” Although each case and situation is different, there are some very basic rules to follow in Arizona that will ensure that you give yourself the best chance to win your case later and to minimize the potential harm to your driving privileges.
As a general rule, keep your car and your glovebox tidy, with your documents easy to find. Struggling with documents is often used by officers to show that a suspect is impaired, and if you have a glovebox full of junk you will struggle regardless of whether or not you had anything to drink. This little bit of preparation will go a long way to helping down the line.
Once you see emergency lights behind you, slow down, and get off of the road using your turn signals. It is ok to keep driving if the immediate stretch of road does not have a shoulder, but make sure that your driving behavior shows the officer that you are aware of his request that you pull over, and pull over as quickly as possible.
When you are approached by the officer, be polite, but do not volunteer unnecessary information. Provide your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance if requested.
If you are asked about whether you have been drinking or using drugs, or where you are coming from, politely tell the officer that you will not be discussing your day. If the officer continues to ask you questions you must explicitly say “I am invoking my right to remain silent.”
If the officer asks you to step out of the vehicle, comply with the request, but inform the officer that you will not participate in any field sobriety tests and will not allow the officer to examine your eyes. Do not blow into any breathalyzer machine at the side of the road; you are not required to and refusing to do so will not affect your driving privileges.
If you are arrested, remain compliant and polite, and immediately ask to speak to an attorney. The officer must give you an opportunity to speak to an attorney, provided that it will not interfere with his investigation. Many attorney’s offices, Gurion Legal included, will answer calls after hours if you are in-custody to answer your questions.
Do not consent to a blood draw or breath test at the station or DUI van until you speak to an attorney. Although consenting to the test is typically the advice given, it varies based on the circumstances of your case. If you are forced to make a decision without speaking to an attorney you will have to decide if the risk of a 1-year suspension for refusing the draw is worth the benefit; typically it is not.
Regardless of whether you consent or refuse the test, continue to be cooperative and polite. Inform the officer that you will not answer any questions regarding the incident, and ask to be released to conduct an independent test. You do not have to go and set a test up, but you should ask to be released for one.
Finally, once you are released, call an attorney immediately. Many DUI issues, especially relating to the motor vehicle department and your driving privileges are time sensitive, and require action immediately. A skilled DUI attorney will be able to assist you and guide you through the process.
As always, Gurion Legal offers free consultations on all DUIs in Arizona. Stay safe, protect yourself by following the basic advice above, and call us if you need help.