The holidays are full of gifts, celebrations and making merry. However, it’s the making merry part that can land you in jail with a DUI. Though it may seem innocent, having that “last glass of wine” or “one for the road” can put you, your passengers and other drivers on the road in jeopardy. In order to protect those on the road, many states step up their DUI checkpoints and routines during the holidays. So what do you do when you’re pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving?
Be Aware of the Holidays
Most state troopers and police officers become more vigilant to the signs of drunk driving around the holidays. As the party season is ramping up, you are more likely to experience checkpoints and random stops during this time. For example, states like New Jersey even pre-warn drivers that they will see an increased police presence during the holidays for both their own safety, as well as the safety of other drivers on the road.
Even if you have had a few drinks, going into panic mode will only serve to make the situation worse. Panic and nervousness can cause shaking, stuttering and other signs of being intoxicated. Try to stay relaxed. The officer who is pulling you over is only interested in the safety of you and your passengers.
There is a lot of barroom speculation on how to handle being pulled over by the police on suspicion of drunk driving, but the truth is that being cooperative is your best bet. Though in most states you are not required to participate in field sobriety tests, declining to do so will more than likely land you with an arrest. If you’ve had little or nothing to drink, the best thing to do is follow the directions of the police officer.
Be Honest (and Polite)
Yes, getting pulled over is annoying. But being belligerent isn’t going to help you at all. If you have had a drink or two, be honest with the police officer. Explain when you had your last drink and what you had to eat. If you politely describe your evening, you’re more likely to end up with a positive result.
Despite your best efforts, mistakes are sometimes made. If you’ve been pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving and it’s resulted in arrest, the most important thing you can do is contact a local attorney. A local DUI attorney will know all the laws that concern your case, and will be able to advise you on the best course of action for moving forward. Be sure to be honest with your attorney on what actually happened. Though it may be tempting to say you “only had a few,” they will need to know the extent of your partying to do the best job for you.
The holidays are a time to let your hair down, enjoy the company of friends and family, and have a few drinks. However, it’s important that you remember to know your limits before getting behind the wheel. By keeping yourself in check, you can keep yourself out of trouble and ensure the continued health and safety of your passengers.
Like most drivers, former television journalist, Nicole Bailey-Covin has seen law enforcement conduct DUI checkpoints and traffic stops. Along with informative sources like http://www.nj-dmv-dwi.com/, Nicole has obtained information about traffic stops by directly speaking with state troopers and local police. As the holiday celebrations continue, remember think safety first and don’t forget drivers who drink are on the police’s radar this season.