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Protect Your Reputation By Doing These 4 Things During A DUI Traffic Stop

by Jamie Nichols

Charges of driving under the influence and driving while intoxicated are serious and can cause permanent damage to your career, reputation and personal relationships. Because arrests, convictions and penalties for these crimes are easy for anyone to discover and track through online court records systems, social media and traditional media sources, most people who are charged with these crimes find that their legal matters soon become a matter of public record and a danger to their reputation. While the best policy is to ensure that you obey all motor vehicle laws, it is important to understand what you can do to help minimize the damage should you ever be threatened with a possible driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge.

Carefully follow all lawful commands by the law enforcement officer making the traffic stop

This includes slowing your vehicle and signaling your intention to pull over to a safe location, turning off your vehicle's motor and placing both hands on the steering wheel where they are clearly visible to the law enforcement officer. If it is dark outside, most law enforcement officers will appreciate the courtesy of you lighting your interior dome light as you turn off your car's engine. However, make sure that you never reach into a purse, console, glove box or under the seat without the express permission of the officer to do so as these actions could be considered a threat to the safety of the officer making the stop. 

Speak distinctly and carefully

When asked questions by the law enforcement officer, be pleasant but keep your answers brief and succinct. Arguing with the officer or volunteering unnecessary information can increase the chances of you being arrested or complicate your case at a later time.

Remember that you are likely being recorded on the officer's dash or body camera

Many people become overly anxious during a traffic stop of any kind, even when they have not used any drugs or alcohol that might trigger a DUI arrest. Unfortunately, this type of anxiety can appear similar to the actions of someone who has used drugs or alcohol when viewed later on video tape. If you are stopped for a possible DUI charge, it is important to make a concerted effort to appear calm, rational and sober.

In many states, a driver who is pulled over for a possible DUI charge will be asked to take a test for blood alcohol content (BAC) and unless you know that the test will show a very high level of intoxication, it is usually best to comply with this request and have your day in court. Be aware that refusing the test can have serious and immediate ramifications, including the immediate surrender of driving privileges and the possible impoundment of the vehicle.

Contact a DUI attorney immediately if you are arrested

DUI and DWI charges are serious and a DUI attorney with a successful background of handling these charges will be able to help you work within the bounds of the court system to minimize the damage these charges can cause for your reputation, career and personal life.