Needless to say, the easiest way to avoid a DWI is by simply not driving a vehicle after having consumed alcoholic beverages. However, if you find yourself behind the wheel of an automobile and are pulled over, the following information may help you to avoid a DWI arrest and conviction.
1. A Missouri police officer must have a valid reason to pull you over. Therefore, do not make the officer’s job easy by having a malfunctioning part on your vehicle. Before driving, always make sure your headlights, taillights, turn signals, and brake lights all work properly. Also, always remember to wear your seatbelt and check to make sure your tags aren’t expired before driving.
2. Stay off of your cell phone. One of the major reasons why so many drivers, especially drivers who have been drinking, get pulled over is because of their lack of concentration as a result of cell phone use. Focusing on the road should be of utmost importance and the use of cell phone will only detract your attention from obeying traffic laws.
3. Before driving your vehicle, always make sure you have your license and proof of insurance readily available. The first thing a police officer will ask for is these documents. Also, by requesting these items from you, the officer is giving you a divided attention test. A divided attention test divides the driver’s attention between mental and physical tasks. The first thing the officer will be observing is your ability to accomplish these tasks. Do not fumble around looking for these documents, because the officer will observe that as a clue of intoxication. Make sure these items are readily accessible and know where they are located.
4. Say as little as possible to the police officer. Other than telling the officer your name and complying with his request for your driver’s license and registration, do not say anything else. You have the right to refuse any other questions. Every statement you make will be used against you. Always speak clearly and be courteous. Police officers are observing your speech and will note in their report that a driver was slurring or mumbling their speech. Therefore, politely tell the officer that you would like to speak with a lawyer before answering any questions.
5. Once the officer orders you out of the vehicle, comply with his request, but do not use the car door or the roof of the car to aid you. Again, the officer is observing all clues of intoxication and they will note a clue of intoxication if you have difficulty exiting the vehicle or need to hold on to the car door or roof to exit the vehicle.
6. When determining whether or not to take a field sobriety test, it is important to understand that these tests are very difficult to successfully complete even if you are sober. Now, imagine taking these tests on the side of road after having several drinks with a police officer observing every move you make. Also, failing the field sobriety tests provides an officer with additional evidence to help bolster his DWI case against you.
7. Know your rights. When asked to submit to a breathalyzer, you have a 20 minute period in which to make an attempt to contact an attorney but only if you request this 20 minute period. The police officer will not inform you of this right, so you must know your rights and exercise them. At Henderson & Waterkotte, P.C., our DWI attorneys are available 24/7 and can help you make an informed decision on whether to submit to a breathalyzer test.
If you are arrested for DWI, it is important to immediately contact a lawyer to help preserve your driving privileges and fight for you. Contact the lawyers of Henderson & Waterkotte, P.C. for a free consultation and to learn more about how the law applies to your specific situation.
This blog is not intended to be construed as legal advice. It is only intended as general information. Each case and situation is unique and requires individualized advice. Additionally, Henderson & Waterkotte, P.C. promotes safe and responsible drinking and in no way is the blog intended to be construed as an endorsement of drinking and driving a vehicle.