First and foremost, POUNDSTONE SCOTTEN does not condone drinking and driving. Nevertheless, we understand it is human nature to indulge in an adult beverage after a long day of work, with dinner, at a local sporting event, etc. and then the inevitable will take place, you drive yourself home. Next thing you know, you have been pulled over by a police officer.
Should you find yourself in such a situation, know your constitutional rights. It is up to you to decide whether or not to exercise those rights.
1. DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE
This is the only way to guarantee you will not be charged with a DUI. It is far too easy these days to arrange for an Uber or Lyft to take you home. Make sure you have the apps downloaded on your phone. While you may think you are fine to drive after a few drinks, Arizona is a no-tolerance state for driving under the influence and you can be cited for being impaired to the slightest degree. Opting for an Uber or Lyft is far less expensive than fighting a DUI charge. Also, be sure to check out Discount Cabs, Designated Drivers, Inc. and Be My DD as these companies offer to take you home in your own car or give you a free ride to pick up your car in the morning.
2. BE POLITE AND RESPECTFUL TO POLICE OFFICERS
When the officer asks for your license and registration, have this paperwork ready to hand to him or her. The moment the officer walks ups to your window and asks for your license and registration he or she is looking for signs of impairment. Personally, when I have been pulled over my hands immediately start to shake for no reason so I always have my paperwork ready. You can refuse to answer questions in a respectful manner (keep reading).
3. SAY NOTHING – DON'T BE YOUR WORST ENEMY & INCRIMINATE YOURSELF
You do not have to answer questions asked by the officer. This is not being rude or disrespectful. You are simply exercising your constitutional right to not incriminate yourself. Know that every question asked is to collect evidence against you to prove you were “impaired to the slightest degree”. An example of how to politely refuse to answer the officers questions and refuse to submit to field sobriety tests or roadside portable breath test:
Officer: Do you know why I stopped you?
Your Answer: No, sir. [or no, ma’am]
Officer: Your license and registration, please.
Your Answer: Hand them to the officer.Remember do not say anything. [Also, know you are being watched if you fumble through your wallet or glove box.]
Officer: Where are you coming from?
Your Answer: I have nothing to say, sir. [Note, the officer is looking for clues to ask follow up questions.]
Officer: Where are you headed?
Your Answer: I have nothing to say, sir.
Officer: Have you had anything to drink?
Your Answer: I have nothing to say, sir.
Officer: Step out of the vehicle, to perform field sobriety tests (and eventually portable breath test)
Your Answer: I would like to speak to my attorney and choose to not engage in field sobriety tests and portable breath test.
At this point, you most likely find yourself in handcuffs and under arrest. Continue to remain silent until you are given the opportunity to speak to your attorney, privately.
4. DO NOT PERFORM FIELD SOBRIETY TESTS (FSTs) AND ROADSIDE
PORTABLE BREATH TEST (PBT)
You are not required to perform field sobriety tests (FSTs) regardless of what the officer may tell you. You have every right to refuse FSTs. FSTs (the finger to nose, the walk-and-turn, the one-leg stand, the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) (aka “the watch the pen” test, etc.) were designed for officers to use during traffic stops in order to help the officer determine if the driver was impaired. The officer writes down every part of each test you perform incorrectly. Personally, I cannot even do a cartwheel, let alone perform these tests without messing up 365 days out of the year!
You are also not required to perform the roadside portable breath test (PBT). Many people think they must submit to the roadside PBT and simply confuse the roadside PBT with the Intoxilyzer Breath Test (if you refuse the Intoxilyzer, you will face steep consequences). The roadside PBT results will only be more evidence the officer collects against you to show he had probable cause to arrest you for DUI. Do not blow into the roadside PBT.
5. CALL AN ATTORNEY
The officer will more than likely be annoyed and tell you that you are not cooperating after you choose to exercise your constitutional rights – not answering questions, and refusing to perform FSTs and roadside PBTs. At this point, the officer will likely arrest you and will be taking you to the station to submit to a blood, breath or urine test.Upon arrest, request to speak to an attorney BEFORE submitting to a blood, breath or urine test. You have a constitutional right to speak to an attorney, privately. If the officer does not comply with your request to speak to an attorney, this will be grounds to have your entire DUI case dismissed.
6. REQUEST AN INDEPENDENT BLOOD, BREATH OR URINE TEST
The officer will most likely inform you that you can have an independent blood, breath or urine test performed. If the officer does not inform you of this right, then once your blood, breath or urine test has been completed, request to be released to have an independent test done. Your request for an independent test is your real life “Get Out of Jail Free” card. Most people do not assert this right simply because they do not even know where to get an independent test done. If the officer does not comply with your request for independent test then any blood, breath or urine test evidence can be suppressed (not allowed as evidence against you) because you were not given the opportunity to preserve your own evidence. Also, once released you can always decide not to obtain an independent test.
Remember, if you are going to drink, drink responsibly. If you find that you or a loved one are in the unfortunate circumstances of a DUI, car accident or any other injury contact POUNDSTONE SCOTTEN at (480) 447-0790, right away. POUNDSTONE SCOTTEN is here to protect your interests. Attorneys are available 24/7.
The information provided in this website is meant only as a general description of the current laws as of the date of the writing. It is not meant to be an exhaustive discussion of all the nuances of the law and is intended to be only an overview. Many issues may appear simpler than they are, and an individual should always contact an attorney to obtain a complete, accurate interpretation of the law given the individual’s particular circumstances. POUNDSTONE SCOTTEN, PLLC makes no representations as to how the law would affect a particular situation and intends only to illustrate areas of concern and give general information.