When a person is stopped by law enforcement, it’s almost never a good thing, especially if the person knows they are guilty of a crime of some sort. That said, regardless of whether you’ve committed a crime or not, you should understand that technically, you are innocent until proven guilty, and there are things you should (and should not) do once stopped by law enforcement that can potentially have a significant impact on your future. Read on and contact our Allegheny County DUI lawyer to learn more about what not to do, should you get stopped by the police.
Stopped By the Police? Here’s What Not to Do.
- Do not become confrontational. Even if you’re unsure of why you’re being stopped or believe you were unfairly stopped, you should always remain polite. Once you become confrontational, you can expect the interaction to take a turn for the worst.
- Do not make any sudden movements. If law enforcement asks for your driver’s license and registration, retrieve them slowly. If your registration is in your glove box, inform the officer that you need to reach into your glove box to access your registration.
- Don’t take your hands off the wheel and don’t remove your seatbelt. Keeping your hands on the wheel where the officer can see them is advisable. Removing your seatbelt before the officer sees you do so may cause the officer to believe you were driving without it, which can lead to a ticket or further questioning, both of which you want to avoid. Additionally, it is never wise to get out of your vehicle, especially if the officer didn’t ask you to, as this can be perceived as a threat and cause an officer to act in the heat of the moment.
- Don’t ask too many questions. It’s always best to let the officer do the talking. While it’s fine to be polite and say “Good evening, Officer,” or something to that effect, you should keep your mouth closed unless spoken to. Asking too many questions can make an officer suspicious and can, in turn, lead to further questioning on the part of the officer.
- Never admit guilt. For example, if an officer asks, “have you been drinking tonight?” the worst thing you can say is “yes.” Even if you honestly only had one drink, the truth of the matter is that police officers hear, “I swear, I only had one/two drinks” all the time, and often, these people have, in fact, consumed far more. If you admit to having “one drink,” you can bet the officer will request you participate in a field sobriety test or submit a breath sample, which can only lead to further issues. The bottom line is you should never reveal potentially incriminating information if you don’t have to.
Finally, if you have been arrested by law enforcement and charged with a DUI, the single most important thing you can do to protect your future is retain the services of a seasoned criminal defense lawyer who can help combat your charges at every turn.