From the second you start interacting with an Officer, s/he is noting everything you say and do to use as evidence in their case against you.
Stay in your car and leave your seat belt on unless the Officer asks you to step out.
How easily you find your driver’s license, registration and insurance will be noted on the Officer’s report.
You are allowed to politely refuse to take field sobriety tests (FSTS).
When you do field tests, you are giving evidence that can be used against you.
There is no law requiring you to do these tests.
Some officers will tell you they will take you to jail if you don’t do the tests, but the officer is going to take you to jail anyway.
If asked to take a Chemical Test (breath, blood or urine test) after arrest, you should do so, but should request to privately consult with an attorney before doing this.
When your driver’s license was issued, you agreed to take such a test if ever pulled over as stated under the Implied Consent Law. Refusal to submit to the Chemical Testing is an automatic license suspension, a fine and possible prison time depending on the number of DUIs you have gotten in the past.
You do not have to give consent for a police officer to search your car. They can only search without consent under the conditions that they have probable cause to believe there is contraband or drugs in the car, they have a warrant, or someone in the car is arrested.
Remember your words can be used against you in the case.
Usually, the search question is veiled and phrased like:
You don’t have a problem with me looking in your car?
You don’t mind if I look in your car, do you?
I’m just going to take a quick look inside, okay?
You can politely refuse to answer questions.
Usually, the officer will ask you a few questions about what you’ve had to drink.
A simple response of “I can only answer your questions on the advice of my attorney” can go a long way in the outcome of your case.
You don’t have to call an attorney right then. That simple statement effectively stops any questioning by invoking your constitutional rights.
Even when the officer reads Miranda rights to you, the answer should be the same.
After you are placed under arrest, you will be taken to jail then offered a chemical test. After completing the test, the officer may give you a form asking whether you want to preserve a sample of your test or waive a sample. Always ask that a sample be preserved.
As soon as the police have taken their tests, immediately make a clear request for the opportunity to obtain an independent blood draw.
Your attorney can explain the benefits of this simple request, as they can be huge!
It is not required by law to have an attorney for your case, but if you don’t have one, there is little to no chance you will get the charges reduced or waived. Judges have little patience for self-represented defendants.
There is no cost to do this and will provide insight to your options
A public defender may be able to help, but their efforts will be limited to the criminal side of the case and will be unable to assist you with the MVD actions that occur concurrent with the DWI. For many people, the loss of their license is one of the biggest problems that arise as a result of their DWI.
Request a copy of your police report at the headquarters of the department that was involved in your arrest.
This is not mandatory, but you will have more fruitful consultations with attorneys in developing your defense strategy.