Being pulled over on suspicion of DUI can be an unnerving experience. The mere possibility of getting arrested can make you nervous and cause you to make mistakes.
If you get pulled over, it is essential to understand your rights so you don’t accidentally incriminate yourself. Under Illinois law, police officers need to have probable cause in order to make an arrest and charge you with a crime. By knowing your constitutional rights, and being cautious about what you say and how you conduct yourself during your interaction with the officer, you can reduce your chances of getting arrested or minimize the repercussions of being arrested.
Here is some advice from a qualified criminal defense attorney on what to do if you are suspected of driving under the influence.
Steps to Take If You Are Pulled Over for DUI
Stay in Your Vehicle
When a police officer pulls you over, remain seated and keep both hands on the wheel. Do not get out of your car unless ordered by law enforcement; this will help avoid any possible altercations between yourself and the officer. If it’s dark, it is best to turn the lights on so that the officer can see you clearly. Once the officer approaches you, hand over your driver’s license, registration, and insurance documents.
Do Not Answer Any Questions
Typically, when you get pulled over, the officer might want to ask you whether you are aware of why they stopped you. In a situation where you have been drinking, tell them you do not know and remain silent. If they ask you anything else – whether you have been drinking, where you are going, what you were doing earlier, who you were with, etc. – tell them that you have been advised by your lawyer to not answer such questions. Do not explain and do not get into an argument.
Do Not Undergo Field Sobriety Tests
If the officer asks you to take field sobriety tests (one-leg stand test, walk and turn test, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test), politely tell them that you do not want to take the tests. These tests are not mandatory under Illinois law and you have every right to refuse them. Even if you are confident you will pass the tests, it is still better to avoid them because the results are subjective and may be used to secure a DUI conviction.
Avoid Taking the Breathalyzer Test Under Most Circumstances
If the officer asks you to take a preliminary breath test, you may respectfully tell them that you do not wish to do so. If the device is not calibrated correctly or if the officer is not properly trained to use the device, the results might be inaccurate. This test is not mandatory so the officer cannot force you to take it.
Under Illinois summary suspension law, your driver’s license will be suspended for a period of 12 months for refusing to take the breath test. While it might sound bad, it is a better option than taking the test and voluntarily handing over potentially incriminating evidence to the police. Moreover, with help from an experienced DUI attorney, you might be able to challenge the license suspension in court.
Call a Seasoned Chicago DUI Lawyer at the First Opportunity
A DUI arrest is a complicated and lengthy process. You should not talk to any police officer or prosecutor until you have consulted with a seasoned criminal defense lawyer, which should be done as soon as possible. Your DUI attorney can inform you of your rights and be present by your side while you are questioned so that you do not unknowingly incriminate yourself.
Facing DUI Charges? One of the Best DUI Lawyers in Chicago, IL Can Help You!
At the Law Office of Purav Bhatt, we have one of the most highly skilled criminal and DUI defense lawyers who can provide you with aggressive, strategic legal representation. Our team will fight hard to protect your rights, reputation, and freedom. At our law offices, we prioritize a strong attorney-client relationship and will work diligently on your behalf to get the best results possible.
Our founder, Purav Bhatt, is one of the highest-rated criminal defense lawyers in Illinois and has more than a decade of experience defending people charged with DUI – as well as a wide range of other offenses. A former Cook County State’s Attorney, Mr. Bhatt has an in-depth understanding of the state’s criminal justice system and knows how prosecutors work. His prosecutorial experience allows him to devise robust strategies to defend his clients and achieve results that most other Chicago DUI lawyers cannot.
Call The Law Firm of Purav Bhatt today at 773-791-9682 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with an experienced DUI defense attorney.