According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one out of every 121 drivers is arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Driving under the influence can result in heavy fines or even several years in jail. And because of the seriousness involved, you need to know what you should or shouldn't do when stopped at a DUI checkpoint.
Here are three common mistakes you should avoid.
Do Not Offer Bribes
While it might be tempting to offer a bribe and get off easy, you shouldn't try to do so. An officer who pulls you over might record their interaction with you. They can later use the recording as evidence to prove that you tried to bribe them, which adds even more charges to your case.
Avoid making statements that suggest that you want to bribe the arresting officer because bribery is a third-degree felony that can get you imprisoned, as per most state laws.
When an officer pulls you over, they may ask for your license, registration, and proof of insurance. Make sure you present all these documents to avoid even more charges against you.
Don't Submit to a Sobriety Test
Several types of sobriety tests aim to establish if you've been driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A police officer may ask you to follow a flashlight with your eyes or stand on one foot. But unfortunately, these sobriety tests are highly subjective, and you have a right to decline to participate in them.
The arresting officer may need you to submit a breathalyzer test in other cases. This test measures the alcohol content in your breath. Other times, they may require you to submit to a blood test. But blood tests are more accurate than breathalyzer tests. So if the officer asks you to choose between the two, make sure you go with a blood test.
Either way, your DUI lawyer has to be present for guidance before you even submit to any test.
Avoid Arguing with The Officer
Never argue with a police officer at a DUI checkpoint –– even if you feel they had no valid reason for pulling you over. When they ask questions, be careful not to act hostile or defensive. An officer may try to engage you in a conversation to see if you'll incriminate yourself or do something that will give them a reason to arrest you.
Police vehicles are fitted with microphones, and any conversation held at a DUI stop can make its way to the court. Therefore, avoid talking too much and instead answer with a "yes" or "no" to direct questions. Also, avoid explaining or trying to talk yourself out of the situation. Instead, let your DUI lawyer do the talking when the time is right.
Contact a DUI lawyer to learn more.