By Portland ME OUI Attorney John S. Webb, Super Lawyer and AVVO Superb Rated Lawyer Near Me
Everyone knows someone who has gotten an OUI in Maine or maybe a DUI in an adjoining state. And if you don’t know of anyone, a friend of a friend likely has. But being arrested for OUI is nowhere close to being found guilty and being convicted of operating (a motor vehicle) under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Portland, ME or Saco, Maine.
What makes the difference between getting arrested for misdemeanor OUI, and eventually being convicted in a court of law? The usual answer is the person who said the least to the investigating officer after being stopped, and who didn’t talk to other people in the holding cell, will usually have a more favorable case outcome. All you have to give the officer is your name and address, and your driver’s license and insurance card.
The Best Thing to Do Is Be Polite But Don’t Answer Unnecessary Questions
A law enforcement officer has been trained to begin what is known as an OUI investigation, and this investigation starts the moment the officer observes you driving recklessly, or running a red light, or weaving between lanes. Your movements will be recorded by the police cruiser’s video cam, and right before the officer walks up to your car window he or she will turn on their body cam and begin recording your physical appearance and your answers to questions asked about where you are coming from, how much have you had to drink, and where you are going. You legally don’t need to answer these probing questions. Your answers may be used against you in court.
Rule # 1 is keep quiet and cooperate. Any good Portland, ME attorney with strong lawyer ratings will say do not offer any extra information not asked for. Politely decline to answer the officer’s questions unless you are required to give an answer.
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.
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.
Be Prepared for a Possible Night in Jail
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 in the morning which is one less thing to worry about. Memorize 2 phone numbers of a family member or a friend so you can call and ask them to bail you out. Upon arrest your mobile phone will be confiscated and you cannot ask a jail guard for your phone back so you can write down some numbers.
Regardless if you have been consuming alcohol, you have now been stopped for an OUI. It is very likely that the officer will ask if you’ve been drinking, especially if it’s at night and you are driving in the entertainment district.
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 your speech 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.)
You Don’t Have to Perform Field Sobriety Tests
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 refusal 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.
One Call Will Get You a Free Lawyer Consultation
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.
Call the Webb Law Firm in Saco ME and Portland ME
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 attorney near me with high attorney ratings and who offers payment plans.
If you’ve been accused of driving under the influence or driving while impaired, give me a call today at 207-283-6400 and I will bring my extensive legal services to the table.
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.