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What to do if you’re pulled over for suspicion of DWI

There may come a time when an officer spots your vehicle, assumes you are under the influence of alcohol and pulls you over to the side of the road. Regardless of whether they are right or wrong about your intoxication, it's critical that you understand the steps you can take to protect your legal rights.

There is no perfect way to approach an officer who has pulled you over for suspicion of DWI, as the steps you take will vary based on the circumstances. However, there are some basic things you can do to help prevent your arrest.

  • Cooperate: The second you become uncooperative is the second you give the officer more reason to believe you are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. No matter what is asked of you, it's critical to cooperate to the best of your ability.
  • Stay where you are: Don't get out of your vehicle or take your hands off the wheel unless the officer instructs you to do so. For example, getting out of your vehicle before the officer approaches it puts them in a difficult spot, as they'll always do what's necessary to protect their safety and that of others in the area.
  • Don't say too much: It's okay to answer basic questions, but talking too much can lead to your incriminating yourself. Stick to the facts while strongly considering every word that you share.

Even if you take these steps, the officer may still request that you take a field sobriety test. If this results in your arrest for DWI, remain quiet and once again cooperate with what the officer asks of you. Fighting back can result in additional criminal charges, thus complicating your case.

Don't lose sight of the fact that a DWI arrest is not the same as a DWI conviction. You'll have the right to defend yourself in court by implementing a defense strategy to prove that you did not violate the law.

Even if you are unsuccessful in preventing a conviction altogether, you may be able to take steps that reduce your punishment and the impact of your case on your personal life, finances and career.

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