Many people in Pennsylvania who are stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence believe that they can convince the officers to not charge them for the offense and to let them go home. However, it is rarely possible for you to be able to talk your way out of being arrested and charged for a DUI. If you try to talk to an officer to get out of a criminal charge, any statements you make can and will be used against you in your DUI case. People who try to talk to officers in the hopes of avoiding charges are often viewed as having a guilty conscience. The officer will likely say that you tried to get out of your arrest because you knew that you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Other than giving your name, driver’s license, insurance card, registration, and other similar information, you should not talk to the police when you are stopped. A DUI lawyer in Chester County at DiCindio Law can represent you after you have been charged to try to get your charges reduced or dismissed.
Alcohol and Inhibitions
One problem when people are under the influence of alcohol is that it impairs your inhibitions and ability to think clearly. This might lead you to talk to an officer even when doing so is not in your interests. The officer will likely ask you how much you had to drink and how long ago you had your last drink. It is best not to answer these types of questions rather than to quantify the number of drinks you had or explain when you last had a drink. You have constitutional rights to remain silent and not incriminate yourself, and you should take advantage of your rights. While an officer and a prosecutor can use your statements against you, they cannot use the fact that you remained silent as evidence against you in court.
Telling an officer how much you had to drink or when you had your last drink can be problematic in your case. One reason is that doing so can negate a defense involving rising blood alcohol levels. Alcohol levels continue to rise after you have your last drink until they reach a peak level. If your chemical test is performed two hours after you last drove or operated your vehicle, your attorney can argue that your blood alcohol level was still rising at the time you drove and that it was lower then than it was at the time of your chemical test. If you claim that you last had alcohol hours before you drove, this type of defense will not work. Instead, the prosecutor might argue that your BAC was likely even higher at the time you drove than when you submitted to a chemical test.
What to Do When You are Pulled Over
When you see an officer’s lights in your rearview mirror, turn on your turn signal, and pull over at the first safe place you reach. Do not attempt to speed away and evade the officer. Doing so will lead to serious charges and could cause an accident.
Put your vehicle in park, and lower your window enough to talk to the officer. Keep your hands visible while the officer approaches. When the officer reaches your window, you must provide him with your driver’s license, insurance card, and registration. Beyond giving your name and these items, you are not required to talk to the officer.
If the officer asks you questions about whether you have been drinking, simply tell him or her that you wish to remain silent and to have an attorney represent you. If the officer asks you to step out of your vehicle, you must comply. However, you do not have to agree to perform any roadside sobriety tests, and you should politely refuse to do so.
The officer can still place you under arrest on suspicion of DUI based on his or her observations of your appearance, motor skills, and poor driving. If you are arrested, the officer will transport you to the police station. You will be asked to submit to a chemical test. You should agree to do so. Refusing a chemical test will result in an automatic suspension of your driver’s license for at least 12 months. A refusal will also result in you facing the penalties for the highest BAC DUI, and your results might be lower than what would otherwise be required for you to face those penalties.
After you have been arrested, ask to speak to an attorney. Contact a criminal defense lawyer at DiCindio Law to schedule a consultation and for help with arranging bail.
Your attorney might be able to raise multiple defenses to your DUI charge. He or she will investigate your case thoroughly to identify problems with the stop, investigation, arrest, or testing.
If the officer did not have a valid reason for stopping your vehicle, it is possible that your case might be dismissed. This is because police officers must have reasonable suspicion that you committed a traffic violation or crime before they can pull you over anywhere other than a DUI checkpoint. If the court finds that the officer lacked reasonable suspicion for your stop, all of the evidence gathered against you following the illegal stop will be suppressed, leaving the prosecutor with little choice other than to dismiss your case.
If you committed a traffic infraction that resulted in your stop, there are still defenses that could be raised. If you submitted to the roadside tests, your attorney can review the video to see if they were conducted properly. Police officers commonly make mistakes when administering the standardized field sobriety tests, and your lawyer can challenge them by cross-examining the police officer.
If the officer did not have probable cause to arrest you for a DUI, your attorney might challenge your arrest. If the court finds that the officer did not have probable cause, any evidence gathered after your arrest, including your chemical test, might be suppressed. Even if the officer had probable cause to arrest you based on his or her observations, your attorney can still challenge the results of your chemical test.
Get Help From a Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me
While being pulled over for a DUI can be nerve-wracking, do not make the mistake of believing you can talk your way out of an arrest. Instead, give the officer the required information, and avoid talking to him or her. Politely tell the officer that you wish to remain silent and to have an attorney. If you are arrested, contact DiCindio Law for help at 610.430.3535.