Updated: Mar 5
A DUI or OVI conviction can wreak havoc on your professional and personal life. Job loss, license suspension, damage to personal relationships, difficulty finding future employment - the list of negative effects from an OVI or DUI on your record is far-reaching and extensive.
Your actions and words during a traffic stop can have a major impact on the outcome of your case as you move through the legal system.
Do provide your identification and registration when stopped. Comply with any orders from the officer, but do not offer information. Keep your statements short. Law enforcement officers are trained to engage you in conversation. Typical questions will revolve around where you spent your day, how much you had to drink, if and when you ingested marijuana or any other drug, and your own opinion of your impairment. You are not required to answer any questions other than your name, but never lie to the officer. You can and should refuse to answer questions, but if you choose to say anything, do not lie. Lying to an officer can result in criminal charges even if there is no other criminal behavior.
Do not voluntarily submit to ANY field sobriety tests. Field sobriety tests are designed to provide enforcement with a legal justification to arrest you. These tests include the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test (commonly called the Pen Test), the Walk-and-Turn test, the One-Legged Stand, the Alphabet and Counting tests, and others. The purpose of these tests is to provide the State evidence of impairment. In the vast majority of cases, the defendant should absolutely refuse to submit to any of these tests. There are no legal penalties for refusing, and even if you are arrested, the lack of any field sobriety tests will hinder the State’s prosecution. Finally, many drivers are asked to blow into a portable preliminary breath-testing machine, commonly called a PBT. This typically occurs during the original traffic stop on the side of the road, prior to arrest. There are no legal penalties for refusing this test, and in the vast majority of cases, no advantage or benefit to blowing.
For educational purposes only. Please contact an attorney licensed in your state for legal advice.