Cooperating with Police
6 Tips for Cooperating with Police During a DWI Arrest
Police officers patrol roadways in part in order to ensure that all drivers are making the wisest choices possible as they speed down the asphalt. Drinking before or while driving is one such reckless decision that officers are tasked with curtailing, as drunk drivers pose a threat to the safety of everyone else on or beside the road. If you have taken even a single drink and a police car, lights flashing and siren wailing, has begun to follow you, the next few minutes are crucial. Keep these helpful points in mind about cooperating with police when an officer has stopped you.
1. When You See the Police Car’s Lights, Remain Calm.
Speeding away from or ignoring emergency vehicle lights are not good ideas and enough reasons for probable cause. Your chief responsibility is to ensure that the situation does not escalate. Pull over in a slow, methodical, reasonable manner. Make no sudden moves and do nothing rash. Turn the vehicle off, turn the lights on in the vehicle, put your hands on the steering wheel, and wait for the officer to come to the car. Turning the lights on in the vehicle and placing your hands on the steering wheel enables an officer to see you and where your hands are. It makes her or him feel safer. Doing as the police officer says makes the entire process go more smoothly.
2. Try to See the Trees, Not the Forest.
Once you are pulled over, your priority should not be to get out of trouble. Concerning yourself with the bigger picture will do little more than make you nervous. It will be the job of your DWI attorney in Buffalo to fight any penalties that the officer levies against you. The police officer has asked you to stop your car. He or she will now speak to you and find out that you have been drinking; this is inevitable. Take each moment as it comes, and do not worry about what may follow your conversation with the officer.
3. Keep Your Hands Visible, Or You Will Appear Aggressive.
The officer will ask you for your license and registration. If you must remove your hands from the steering wheel or make any movements to retrieve your documents, before you do anything, ask permission to reach for the documents. This shows that you are respectful and considerate. Not asking permission before moving your hands from the steering wheel is a sign that you are not cooperating with police. It may also be perceived as a demonstration of quick or sudden movement, thereby alarming the officer.
4. Remember That the Officer Is More Concerned Than You Are.
You do not want to make the officer feel on edge. In the officer’s mind, you might be armed and ready to flee the scene—or worse, to pull out your weapon. The truth is that you had a small drink before you got in your car. Though you know that you drank, all the officer knows is that you were driving in an unsafe manner; do not give the officer reason to worry you may be a hardened criminal.
5. If the Officer Asks You to Stand Outside Your Car, You Should Obey.
The officer may ask you to exit the vehicle. It is prudent to comply. Remember to do so in a reasonable and respectful manner. Please follow all the officer’s instructions. Failure or refusal to respect the officer’s wishes and demands may reflect badly on you down the line.
6. …However, You Do Not Have to Respond to Each Question.
You do have rights. You are not necessarily obliged to answer every question that the officer poses, and you are not mandated to perform field sobriety tests that the officer may ask you to perform. It is recommended that you tell the officer that you would like to speak to a DWI attorney in Buffalo as soon as possible, and you should wait for the officer to allow you to do so.
Contact John Dudziak, a DWI attorney in Buffalo who has extensive experience defending clients facing drunk driving charges. He will be your strongest ally in your case. Before you get to that point in the process, though, you must not give the officer who has pulled you over any reason to want to charge you or use unnecessary force. Following all the officer’s instructions may dissuade her or him from imposing a harsher charge, so it is imperative, as soon as a police car appears in your rearview mirror, that you maintain your composure when cooperating with police.
For immediate answers to your drunk driving questions, check out our Definitive Guide to DWI Law.