Officers arrest more than 100,000 Californians for drunk driving every year, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Report.
Being stopped while drunk can be nerve-wracking, but if an officer stops you, it is important to stay calm and handle the situation responsibly.
Safely pull over
As soon as you observe the flashing lights behind you, locate a safe spot to pull over. Use your turn signal to indicate your intentions and park in a well-lit area, if possible.
Cooperate with the officer
Once you come to a stop, fully cooperate with the police officer. Roll down your window, turn off the engine and place your hands on the steering wheel where they are easily visible. Follow the officer’s instructions politely and without hesitation.
Provide required information
When asked, furnish the necessary documents. These typically include your driver’s license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance.
Try to speak clearly and avoid making any sudden movements. This will help establish a positive impression and maintain a calm atmosphere.
Be mindful of your words
Exercise caution when speaking to the officer. Answer questions honestly and directly, but refrain from volunteering unnecessary information and avoid making any admissions of guilt.
Choose whether or not to take a field sobriety test
In California, you have the right to decline field sobriety tests. These tests are voluntary, and you can politely refuse without incurring legal consequences. Keep in mind that refusing a chemical test, such as a breath or blood test, can result in immediate suspension of your driver’s license.
Maintain your composure
Throughout the encounter, maintain your composure. Avoid becoming argumentative or confrontational, even if you believe the police are not treating you fairly. Your behavior can significantly influence the outcome of the situation.
If an office pulls you over, you can navigate a DUI stop with composure and responsibility. Remember, however, that the best way to avoid a DUI and its consequences is to never drink and drive. Always plan ahead for a safe ride home if you have been drinking.