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What to do if you are stopped on suspicion of DUI

Most people understand that driving under the influence is never a good idea, but everyone makes mistakes. In some situations, officers can make mistakes, too.

For example, imagine driving home on a Friday night when you swerve to avoid hitting a cat in the street. Unfortunately, an officer who was approaching from the rear saw you make the maneuver but did not see the cat. Now the officer thinks you are intoxicated and pulls you over with the intention to administer a field sobriety test and possibly charge you with driving under the influence (DUI).

Whether you've had nothing to drink or you consumed a few beers after you left work, a DUI stop is a scary thing. How you conduct yourself can make a difference. Here are a few things you should do during a DUI stop.

Pull over and remain in the car

Just like with a normal traffic stop, if you think an officer is pulling you over for suspicion of driving while intoxicated, you should pull over as quickly and safely as possible and remain in the car until the officer says otherwise. Furthermore, turn off the engine and place your hands on the steering wheel so that they are easily visible.

Keep your cool and be polite

If you become angry or belligerent, it will only make the situation worse even if you have done nothing wrong. Instead, be polite and cooperate to the extent that you are not surrendering your rights.

Don't forget the Fifth Amendment

Keep in mind that while you should be respectful, you should not make any statements that could be used against you. Amendment V to the U.S. Constitution gives you the right to remain silent about anything that could incriminate you in the future.

Do not offer any information other than what is absolutely necessary for the officer to take your driver's license and insurance information and perform the field test. Being overly candid with the officer will not lessen the potential charges.

If the traffic stop does lead to an arrest, be sure to remain calm and remember your rights. You will have the right to defend yourself against drunk driving charges. With a proper defense, you might be able to beat the charges and avoid a DUI conviction.

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