The Steps You Should Follow If You’re Pulled Over For A DWI

The Marble Team

The Steps You Should Follow If You’re Pulled Over For A DWI

| 5 min
6 minutes

Your heart’s pounding, and your pulse is racing; you were speeding, you’ve been stopped on suspicion of a DWI (driving while intoxicated). The officer has read you your rights and asked you to take a breathalyzer. What now?

If you ever find yourself in this situation, what you do next can have a serious impact. Make the wrong choice, and you might face a more severe charge or confront an offense you could’ve avoided.

To help you make the right decisions, we’ve put together this simple guide on the steps you should follow if you’re pulled over for a DWI. We’ll cover your legal rights and entitlements, how to behave, the consequences of incriminating yourself, and the importance of keeping detailed notes. Read on to learn more.

Do I Need To Confess To Anything? What Are Ramifications If I Do?

The short answer to the above question is no; you don’t need to confess to anything. A DWI is no different from any other charge: you’re innocent until proven guilty, you’re allowed to take the fifth and remain silent, and you’re also entitled to legal representation.

If you confess to anything at the scene, you may find it almost impossible to contest any aspect of your charge subsequently. So, the best choice is to say only as much as you have to and to seek legal representation before you admit to anything.

How A DWI Differs From A DUI

In New York State, there’s no difference between a DWI and DUI (driving under the influence). However, in some states, a DUI refers to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, whereas a DWI refers to alcohol alone.

In New York, a DWI applies when driving is affected by alcohol, prescription or over-the-counter medication, recreational drugs, or a mix of the above. There’s also a lesser charge in NY of a DWAI (driving while ability impaired) alongside the Zero Tolerance Law for young drivers and potential additional penalties.

What You Need To Do When Pulled Over DWI Concerns

If you’re pulled over on suspicion of a DWI, it’s natural to panic and expect the worst. But this is a time for a collected approach, clear thinking, and common sense. Above all, it’s really important to avoid saying or doing anything that you might regret.

Here are our suggestions for the best course of action if you’re ever pulled over on suspicion of a DWI.

Pull-Over Where It’s Safe To Do So

Don’t be tempted to hit the brakes suddenly and lurch off to the side when you see the blue and red lights and hear the sirens. Doing so is not only dangerous, but cops might also see this impulsive, erratic move as another indication that you’re driving while intoxicated. Instead, gently drop your speed and only pull over once it’s safe to do so.

Be Polite And Cooperative

It costs nothing to be polite and cooperative, and doing so will always count in your favor. If you’re over the legal limit, you’re in enough trouble already, so don’t exacerbate the situation by resisting arrest or trying to flee the scene. Also, don’t make any sudden or jumpy movements that the officer could misinterpret. The best course of action is to sit still, with your hands clearly visible on the wheel, and await the officer’s instructions.

Don’t Incriminate Yourself

Police officers are trained to handle DWIs; you probably aren’t. Accordingly, learn your rights, and apply them. You’re legally obliged to give the officer certain information, like your name, license, and insurance details. But if you’re asked a question like “Have you been drinking?” you may be better off to politely reply, “Respectfully, I’ve been told not to answer that question.”

Any officer who hears that reply will likely put you under pressure and may even arrest you, but it’s essential to stand your ground. Although you risk a fine and losing your license, that may be a preferable outcome to spending time in jail because you incriminated yourself at the scene.

Refuse An On-The-Spot Breathalyzer But Be Aware Of The Most Likely Outcome

Many people don’t realize it, but you’re perfectly within your rights to refuse an on-the-spot breathalyzer. However, if you do so, you should be aware that there will be consequences. Still, the potential consequences may not be as severe as taking and failing a breathalyzer test.

If you refuse, the most likely outcome is that you’ll be arrested and taken back to the station, in which case you’ll have to agree to a test there. If you’re given a choice between a breath test and a blood test, most lawyers would advise you to take the former because there are usually fewer options to dispute the latter.

Write Down Everything You Can Remember About Your Experience ASAP

As close as possible to the event, write down a complete account of everything that happened. It’s best to answer the following while the information’s fresh in your mind: where you were before you were stopped, how much you had to drink, when you stopped drinking, the time and place where you were pulled over, exactly what the officer said, how they behaved, how you replied, any tests you took at the station, plus anything else that’s relevant.

Why is this so important? When your attorney reviews all the information, they may be able to find grounds to negotiate a plea bargain and reduce your charge to a wet reckless or reckless driving - or even push for your case to be dismissed in certain situations.

Get The Aid Of Trusted Legal Representation

Police officers know the laws around a DWI - but so do lawyers. An experienced DWI attorney can explain the overall process, ensure your rights are protected, and potentially negotiate a plea bargain on your behalf.

The consequences of any form of DWI charge are serious and potentially life-changing - imagine not being able to drive anywhere. You owe it to yourself to seek top-notch legal representation to give yourself the best possible chance of contesting your charge.

Bottom Line

The simplest way to avoid any DWI charge is never to drink and drive. But if you find yourself in this very situation, you can benefit from the experience of the friendly team at Marble. Call us now for a free case assessment to learn how we can help.

6 minutes
Dec 30, 2020
The Marble Team