So You’ve Been Pulled Over…
By: The Wagner Law Firm
Getting pulled over for a DUI can be a nightmare, but we have compiled a list of dos and don’ts for what to do if you’ve been pulled over for a DUI in West Virginia.
- Be Polite: Suspicious or combative behavior is not going to do you any favors with law enforcement. You also want to make sure that the officer is not opposed to negotiate on your behalf down the road.
- Be Prepared: Always keep your license and registration in the car, preferably in an easy-to-reach place like the console or glove compartment. When you know where your information is, you don’t have to fumble around looking for your registration. Plus, if you are struggling to locate your information, it may be further evidence to the officer of your intoxication.
- Inform the Officer of Your Right to an Attorney: It might seem against the rules, but you are within your rights to tell the officer that you refuse to take a field sobriety test or breathalyzer. In fact, in most cases, its best to avoid sobriety tests and call your attorney.
- Remain Silent: You have the right to remain silent, and in most cases its best to use it. Avoid testing at the police station post-arrest and make no admissions in front of law enforcement officers.
- Be Confrontational: Outright denial of drinking and driving might raise suspicion and get you in hot water. It’s best to answer all questions calmly and respectfully while avoiding begging, bribing, or belligerence of any kind.
- Don’t Admit to Drinking: If you’re pulled over, the officer will probably ask if you’ve been drinking. The best thing to do is say nothing. Self-incrimination is hard to defend in court, and the most opportune moment to incriminate yourself is during a traffic stop. Instead of telling the officer you’ve only had a few drinks, say something along the lines of, “Respectfully Officer, I have not committed a crime, and I will not answer any further questions without my attorney present.”
- Don’t Agree to a Search: NEVER consent to a search of your person or your vehicle. This also extends to any passengers in the car with you – if the officer asks to search the car, you should always say no.
- Don’t Ask for a Blood Test: West Virginia DUI procedure uses breath tests not blood alcohol concentration to test for DUIs. Never ask for a blood test unless you are absolutely certain beyond a shadow of a doubt that the test will come back negative.
The best thing you can do if you’re pulled over by an officer is to speak to an attorney. Admitting guilt is as good as a conviction and if you tell the officer you only had a few drinks or you display erratic behavior, you might as well admit to driving drunk.
You have rights, so use them! You are well within your rights to remain silent and speak to your attorney or what you say WILL be used against you.