Do you know what to do if you get pulled over for a DUI in Michigan?
One of the most common reasons ordinary people become involved with the criminal justice system is for drinking and driving.
In Michigan, there are two main charges dealing with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol:
- OWI or Operating While under the Influence
- OWVI or Operating While Visually Impaired.
However, both charges can stem from being pulled over by police. It is best to know how to react in that situation to help yourself avoid escalating the situation.
While this list isn’t a substitute for contacting a lawyer, it can help you retain your legal rights while you are waiting to speak to a lawyer.
Steps to Follow if You Are Pulled Over for a DUI
Prepare To Lose Your Driver’s License (temporarily)
The first thing you need to keep in mind is that you may have your license suspended. This is a very anxiety-inducing thought for most people. However, you will be thankful you have read this if you get pulled over for a DUI.
If you are expecting to have your license suspended, you can proceed with the other steps much more calmly. Once you have been pulled over because an officer suspects you have been drinking, all of your other plans are put on hold.
If it turns out you don’t get your license suspended after the roadside encounter, all the better.
Pull Over Slowly
Police officers are trained to use your anxiety against you when you get pulled over.
What happens next greatly determines how your report gets written because that officer’s report is both highly subjective and it’s the thing standing between you and a drunken driving charge.
You need to make sure you pull over slowly and safely, to a safe location. Your behavior is being judged from the minute the officer thinks she sees evidence of drunk driving.
Don’t stop suddenly, don’t drive erratically, and pick the safest possible location to pull over.
Keep Your Hands at 10 and 2
You want to be as polite and unsuspicious as possible when it comes time for that face-to-face encounter.
Don’t turn in your seat, don’t get out of the car, and don’t reach for anything until the officer tells you to do so.
You don’t have to put on a show of niceness. However, you should be respectful to the officer who comes to your window for as long as the encounter is happening.
You may be stressed out, but the best way to help yourself avoid arrest is not to give the officer any extra reasons to make an arrest.
Do Not Lie
Refusing to answer a question isn’t lying, and this is where a lot of people get into trouble.
You are very likely to incriminate yourself – even falsely – if you start trying to control the situation by talking. You will have to give the officer your name, your license and registration, and your insurance information.
However, if you are asked a question, you DO NOT have to answer that question. If the officer asks you if you’ve been drinking or how much you’ve had to drink you can say, “I’m sorry officer, but I’ve been advised not to answer any questions.”
Here is why you needed to be prepared to lose your license. If you have had some drinks but you are not sure how it will show up on a test, it’s better to use discretion and not say anything than to risk incriminating yourself.
You will probably be put under pressure to answer at this point. In addition, you may ultimately be arrested and lose your license. However, if you incriminate yourself, you are looking at jail time.
If you are pulled over for a DUI, remember these things:
- Prepare yourself for losing your license.
- Pull over carefully and be polite at all times.
- If you are going to answer a question, answer it truthfully. Don’t lie.
- When in doubt, refuse to answer any questions until you’ve had a chance to talk to a lawyer.
Contact Detroit DUI Lawyer David J. Kramer
If you are facing a OWI or OWVI charge in the Detroit area, you need an experienced DUI lawyer.
Contact me today. I would be honored to help.