One of my clients was recently pulled over for drunk driving (DUI). He has to take prescription drugs which can dull his senses, but never drives during the prohibited time period after taking his medication. He happened to ask me some weeks ago while dealing with an estate planning issue what I thought he should do if he ever was pulled over for DUI. He thought it might be difficult to pass a drug test because his medication can linger in his system even after the "drunken" feeling has worn off. As it turns out, our conversation turned into reality when he was pulled over after crossing a double yellow line this past weekend. He had actually been on his cell phone and wasn't paying attention; not that I approve of either.
During our conversation I gave him the following advice:
- Do not answer any of the police officers questions. You don't have to be rude, but the officer is not your friend no matter how nice he may act towards you. They mean it when they say "Anything you say can AND WILL be used against you." The words "I'm sorry" can be interpreted in a court of law as an admission of guilt even if what you are sorry for has nothing to do with drunk driving.
- Do not take the officer's field sobriety test. It can be difficult for even the most sober person to count backwards from 100, walk in a completely straight line (one false step can be viewed as evidence against you), or touch his or her nose with a fingertip in a way that satisfies the officer. This test is not even legally required in most states.
- Do not take a breath test until you are arrested. If you have been arrested you are required to take a breath test and, in most states, if you refuse they can perform a blood test.