Being stopped by a police officer who may suspect you of drinking alcohol can be highly intimidating. If you are believed to have been drinking even a small amount while operating a vehicle, an officer can pull you over and conduct a series of tests to see if you are impaired. These are serious charges that should not be ignored or taken lightly, so you should familiarize yourself with how to respond to them. It is important to understand what to do during these types of traffic stops.
Be Polite and Calm
A key thing that you should be mindful of during an OWI stop, or any type of traffic stop, is to remain as calm as possible. Too often these types of law enforcement interactions end up escalating, so remaining calm can help you keep control of the situation and help you resolve it much more quickly. Be courteous and make sure that your tone is respectful, and that you are clearly communicating to the officer.
Inform the Officer if You Need to Get Something
During traffic stops, it is critical that the police officer has a clear view of your hands. They may suspect that you have a gun or other weapon, so make sure that your hands are always visible and not moving around too much. If you need to get an item like your wallet, ID, or insurance papers, be sure to inform the officer first that you intend to reach for an object in your vehicle.
You Have a Right to Refuse Sobriety Tests
The police officer does not have the legal authority to force you to submit to any field sobriety tests that they want to administer. It is important to remember this because you have the right to refuse any test if you are suspected of DUI or OWI. Do not assume that you have to consent to every test that they mention because you can politely refuse. A skilled OWI lawyer like one from Hall-Justice will be able to explain to you more about your legal rights during a stop.
Note the Officer’s Actions
One of the most common reasons that many lawyers are able to fight OWI charges is because the officer made a mistake. Sometimes a rookie police officer may not be familiar with the procedure to conduct a traffic stop, and they make mistakes like failing to read a person their rights or missing an important step. Remember what actions and directions the police officer did so that you can use that as evidence when fighting your OWI charge.
Remain Silent or Keep Your Answers Short
When you are giving answers to questions that the police officer asks, make sure that you understand your rights. You have a right to remain silent, but if you are going to give an answer, keep them brief and straightforward. Do not give any more details than necessary because they can be used against you in court. To learn more about how to handle an OWI stop, reach out to a trained and experienced lawyer right away so that you can get help.
Facing any kind of criminal charge can be stressful, but it is important to stay healthy throughout the ordeal. This can mean undergoing acupuncture, nutritional supplements, and chiropractic care to help alleviate that stress.