[accordion_toggle title=”What do I do if a police officer stops to talk to me?”]Face to face interactions with police officers on the street can end very well or very poorly. Always be courteous and respectful to officers because loud, disruptive behavior will always intimidate a police officer and cause them to act more aggressively toward you. Your personal safety should be of paramount importance.
That being said, courteous and respectful does not mean fully open and cooperative. It’s fine to give basic information like your name and date of birth, but you should not provide any additional information to the officer unless you’ve consulted with your attorney.[/accordion_toggle]
[accordion_toggle title=”What do I do when I’m being questioned?”]YOUR “MIRANDA” WARNINGS AND YOUR RIGHTS
Sometimes, you may be taken in for questioning, or even questioned in your home or on the street. Often, before a police officer begins questioning you and you are a suspect in a crime, they will give you your “Miranda” warnings – your right to remain silent, to have an attorney present, etc.
If an officer or detective gives you your Miranda warnings, request to call your lawyer immediately, tell the officer that you will not answer any questions without your lawyer present, and then stop talking. Even truthful, innocent answers to police questioning could walk you right into criminal charges. Police are required to stop questioning only if you unequivocally ask for a lawyer.
Asking, “Do you think I need a lawyer?” has been held NOT to be an invocation of your right to counsel. Also, just because the officers leave you alone for now, doesn’t stop them from coming back hours later, when you’re cold, hungry, and tired. Detectives are trained interrogators.
Their plan is to wear you down to the point that you give them the information they are seeking. You must persist in you invocation of your right to counsel and right to remain silent any time investigators attempt to question you.[/accordion_toggle]
[accordion_toggle title=”What do you do when you’ve been pulled over?”]Upon being curbed by a police officer for DUI or any traffic offense, you should immediately pull over your vehicle at the nearest safe location. This should be done while carefully obeying all traffic laws including using your turn signals, obeying speed limits, staying in your lane of traffic.
If you have not been drinking or using drugs, roll down your window, provide your license and insurance. Be courteous and respectful. Don’t rummage through your car as the officer approaches as this will make an officer nervous and cause him to think you are hiding contraband or a weapon.
If you have been drinking or using drugs, roll your window down only an inch or two, just enough to talk to him and pass him your documents. Do not answer any questions about where you’re coming from or where you’re going. Avoid speaking as much as possible. You have the right to refuse any field sobriety testing, but you should realize that refusing the tests may result in your arrest anyway. Field sobriety tests are most often used as evidence of intoxication in court. The tests are designed for failure. It is very rare that a person passes the tests, the officer returns their license and sends the driver on his or her way. The vast majority of these interactions end in arrest.
To Blow or Not to Blow, that is the question:
Some people say never to blow, but that is on oversimplification. The answer is, it depends how much you need to drive. For a first offender, a refusal triggers a 12 month license suspension. A breathalyzer result over .08 is a six month suspension. For a second timer, it’s a 3 year suspension for a refusal and a 1 year suspension for a blow over .08.
If you really need to drive (for work, school, etc.) and you are positive that you’re not intoxicated, you should blow. Being positive means you truly had one beer or glass of wine over a full meal. If you have any doubts or if you have drank hard liquor within the last several hours, you should probably refuse to submit to the breathalyzer. Though this may submit you to a harsher suspension, you are more likely to win the DUI.
If you have a previous DUI in your background, you should refuse all testing unless you’ve had NOTHING to drink within 24 hours. Many people are charged with DUI after thinking they have “slept it off”. Your blood alcohol content may still be over the limit even after sleeping.
If you have been pulled over and charged with any sort of traffic or DUI offense, having an attorney can help protect your rights and help you achieve a positive outcome at the end of your case. Contact us today at 312-441-0211 and let us begin to work to help you.[/accordion_toggle]