Kurtz & Blum, PLLC - Criminal Justice Attorney

What Should You Do if Stopped By Police for a DWI?

What to Do After Being Stopped for DWI

If you are stopped for Driving While Impaired, the police may ask you to take two sorts of tests at the site of the stop: field sobriety tests and a road side breath test.

Field sobriety tests are things like walking a straight line, standing on one foot or asking you to follow a pen or a light with your eyes. A portable breath test is exactly what it sounds like: you breathe through a tube into a machine that tests your breath for alcohol content.

Refuse the Field Sobriety Tests

You are not obligated to take either sort of test. My advice: unless you are stone cold sober, unless you have had nothing to drink for 24 hours, politely refuse. People who have been drinking are very, very bad at guessing whether they will be able to pass these tests and these days, a single cocktail can contain a whole lot of liquor.

If there is any reason to doubt, DON’T do it. The police officer may arrest you, but by choosing not to take the field sobriety tests and the portable breath test, you are making it much harder for the police officer to justify the arrest to a judge. You have the right to say, “No.” Don’t give up your rights.

Breath Tests After Being Arrested

If you are arrested, things change a little. You will be asked to take another breath test either at a police station or in the police mobile unit, the so called BAT-mobile, which is cop talk for breath alcohol testing vehicle. Whether you should take this breath test depends largely on your criminal record.

If you have been convicted of a DWI in the last seven years, you should probably not take the breath test. You will lose your right to drive for a year, but you will rob the police of their most powerful piece of evidence against you. If you have a prior DWI within seven years and you are convicted, you will not only lose your right to drive for a year, but also in most circumstances, you will also go to jail.

If you have not been convicted of DWI in the last seven years, and you haven’t had more than three drinks within the past two hours, you probably should take this breath test. Even if you have had too much to drink, you may still want to take the breath test.

If the results are bad, it will be powerful evidence of your guilt of the offense but it will allow you to get a limited driving privilege so that you will be allowed to drive even if you are convicted.

If you do decide to take a breath test, you have the right to have a witness watch you take the test so long as you can get that witness to the police station within 30 minutes. Call a witness. Even if you cannot get them to the station in time, you will still delay the test for half an hour. In many cases, this delay is long enough to lower your breath and blood alcohol levels below the legal limit.

Don’t Answer Questions About Your Drinking

Whatever you do, DO NOT answer questions about your drinking. One of the standard questions that the police ask is how impaired you are on a scale of 1 to 10. This is a trick question. The police do not have to prove that you are drunk to convict you of DWI. They have only to show that you are affected by alcohol. Any answer above zero is admitting that you are impaired. You don’t have to answer their questions. Don’t do it.

Contact Kurtz & Blum For Help

Finally, as soon as you are able, call us at 919-832-7700. Once we know the facts in your case, we will be able give you specific advice. At Kurtz & Blum, PLLC, we are in your corner.

Our DWI attorneys help people throughout Wake County, North Carolina. We frequently handle offenses arising out of the following cities: Zebulon, Fuquay-Varina, Knightdale, Wendell, Raleigh, Morrisville, Holly Springs, Rolesville, Apex, Wake Forest, Cary, New Hope and Garner.

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