Everyone knows someone that has gotten an OUI. And if you don’t know of anyone, a friend of a friend likely has.
To give you an idea, in 2016, there were 8594 arrests relating to driving under the influence. This does not mean convictions of any crimes.
Getting pulled over for an OUI can happen relatively easily, and unfortunately, most often, you are guilty until proven innocent. And the way to prove your innocence can also condemn you in a court of law.
We are going discuss the top 5 things you should do if you get a DUI in Maine. Hopefully, you’re never in this predicament, but if you get yourself into a tough spot, try to remember these tips!
When being pulled over for any reason, use turn signals to let the officer know you are in fact, stopping. Pull over to a safe spot quickly. Don’t wait too long to do so as this may irritate the officer.
If you happen to get pulled over for any reason, be mindful that the officer walking up to your car does not know who you are or if you are dangerous. Do your best to keep calm.
Keeping calm and having your hands visible will typically lower the tension of the situation. In the same breath, being jumpy or wildly moving about looks suspicious at best.
Be Prepared for a Possible OUI
If you think you are being pulled over for an OUI, it may benefit you to pull into an area that won’t tow your car for leaving it until morning. There are many ways this could turn out, but not having to deal with towing and impound is one less thing to worry about.
Grabbing at items in your car can lead to a worst case scenario of the officer assuming you have a weapon. It can also lead to further investigation of you and your car.
Having your license, registration, and proof of insurance ready by the time the officer reaches your car is ideal. It is also unlikely.
Because it is unlikely, place your registration and insurance in a location that is easily accessible. Hopefully, you know where your license is. This is helpful with any and all traffic stops, not just suspected OUI.
Say This, Not That
Regardless as to if you have been consuming alcohol or not, you have now been stopped for an OUI. It is very likely that the officer will ask if you’ve been drinking.
If you are not under the influence of any substance, you can go ahead and tell him no. If you are under any type of influence, do not admit to it.
It’s not a great idea to try to “cooperate” with officers. That part of “anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law” is absolutely true. They WILL include any type of admission of guilt in their report.
Actually, if they ask, you should invoke your fifth amendment right to not incriminate yourself. This is because if you tell them you had “just a few,” they will start asking other, more detailed questions.
Also, not saying anything will help you to avoid slurring your words. Slurring words will only strengthen the officer’s case against you.
This doesn’t mean be RUDE, in fact, be polite. Just keep your answers short (and sweet–seriously, be nice, it’s more beneficial.)
At this point, the officer is wagering that you are intoxicated. He is going to tell you to step out of the vehicle.
This may seem like a statement. It is more of a strongly-worded request. Though you don’t have to comply, this may lead directly to your arrest.
Because of course, no one wants to be arrested, you step out of the vehicle. The officer is going to ask you to start a series of tasks called Field Sobriety Tests.
This is actually not mandatory. And these tests are quite difficult even when sober.
Not performing a field sobriety test can get you arrested, but if you fail it, you’ll be arrested too. A physical sobriety test just gives more evidence against you in a court of law.
At this point, you will be asked to submit to a breathalyzer test. If you do not comply, regardless to blood-alcohol content, your license will be suspended.
Also, if you refuse the breathalyzer, a warrant will be issued for a sample of your blood.
Regardless of how an officer obtains your blood-alcohol content, the legal limit is .08% across the nation.
At this point, things aren’t looking too hot. You’ve been pulled over for a DUI; you’ve been as compliant as you can without giving too much information.
You’ve declined the field sobriety test. You were arrested. You decided to submit to the breathalyzer screening.
Now you’re getting nervous about what happens when you get arrested for DUI, how much it’ll cost, and if you’ll be able to drive after.
The good thing is, with the help of an attorney, you can sail through the process quickly. Making the judgment call to hire an attorney that specializes in OUI cases will be the best decision you can make.
Your Life Isn’t Over
The best way to avoid a DUI is not to drink and drive. There are many options out there, ranging from friends to taxis, paid car services, and public transportation.
With that being said, getting arrested for an OUI isn’t the end of the world. It is a speed bump, not a roadblock. You can get through it, especially with the help of an experienced attorney.
If you’ve been accused of driving under the influence or driving while impaired, give me a call at 207-283-6400.
Regardless if you’ve made the mistake of driving under the influence, once or multiple times, I can help your case and work towards minimizing the charges you are dealing with.
Hopefully, you don’t make this mistake, but if you or a loved one does, we have plenty of information to help ease your mind.