Many motorists every year find themselves facing a possible DWI when pulled over by police or asked to participate in field sobriety tests (FSTs) and/or breathalyzer tests. It is important to remember that a motorist’s actions can have a profound impact on the outcome of their DWI case. In this blog, Minnesota DWI attorney Gerald Miller provides important tips, or DWI do’s and don’ts, for people stopped by the police for DWI.
Tips on What to Do When Pulled Over for DWI
Do Have Your Driver’s License and Insurance Ready
Drivers should keep their driver’s license and proof of insurance readily accessible to present before the officer even approaches the window of the vehicle.
The reason to keep the documents in a place where they can be easily retrieved is to prevent the officer from observing you struggle or fumble with the documents when retrieving them. The officer will use these observations as part of the basis for probable cause to initiate a DWI investigation.
Do Ask to Speak to an Attorney
Before you answer any questions, agree to any tests, or sign any form, you should insist on speaking to your DWI lawyer. When asked to participate in field sobriety tests (FSTs) or a portable breath test, Minnesota law provides motorists with the right to talk to their attorney before deciding whether to participate in those tests.
Since the function of FSTs and the portable breath test are to establish probable cause for a DWI arrest, there is not much of a reason for a motorist to agree to participate. However, you have the right to talk to an attorney for a reasonable period, so you should take advantage of this opportunity to talk to an attorney about your best course of action under the specific circumstances of your situation.
Do Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent
The officer will attempt to answer questions about whether you have been drinking and where you are coming from before the stop. Drivers should remember their right to remain silent and politely decline to answer these questions or provide other information until you have legal counsel present.
Although you are required to provide identifying information to the officer, you can and should be quiet as soon as this is accomplished. You must comply with reasonable orders from the officer and should remain courteous, but you do not have to participate in FSTs, a portable breath test in the field, or questioning.
Tips on What Not to Do When Pulled Over for DWI
Do Not Discuss Your Case with Anyone Other Than Your Attorney
While a DWI arrest is a major life event that you might feel inclined to discuss with family or friends, you need to avoid talking about your situation with anyone other than your attorney. Attorney-client privilege will protect communications with your attorney, but this right can be waived regarding information you have disclosed to a third-party.
Do Not Take Field Sobriety Tests or Portable Breath Test
Minnesota’s implied consent law requires motorists to submit to a formal breath test at the police station, but that requirement does not extend to field sobriety tests. In other words, you are fully within your right to politely decline participation in any FSTs. The sole purpose of these tests is to furnish the officer with sufficient evidence to justify a DWI arrest.
Need More Information or Legal Advice?
These are only a few tips that we hope may help you in the future. If you have been arrested for DWI, we invite you to speak to a Minnesota DWI Lawyer at Gerald Miller, P.A. as soon as possible. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can start protecting your rights.
Contact us today to schedule your free and confidential case evaluation.