Do Not Panic!
From the moment that a New York City police officer orders one to pull over on suspicion of drunk driving, numerous legal implications come into play.
Should one stop right away? Should one stop gradually? Should one breathe? What should one say? How should one act?
What To Do When Stopped in Your Car
- 1. Stay calm, collected and do not fight with police.
- Do not give police a reason to arrest you if they don't already have one.
- Remember, anything you do or say can be used against you in court down the line.
- 2. For those same reasons...
- Keep your hands in plain sight.
- Do not flee or make contact with any officers.
- Do not make any statements.
- 3. Remember officer badges, car numbers and descriptions..
- 4. Write down everything you can to remember the scene..
- 5. Take photos of everything you can to remember the scene..
- 6. Remember and log the names/descriptions of any witnesses..
- 7. If arrested, ask for a lawyer right away..
- While it is possible that your car can be searched without a warrant....
- You should NEVER CONSENT to a search and let the officer know that!
- But, if you are arrested, then your car can be searched thereafter.!
Actions to Take
And Your Rights
To begin, one thing that should never be done by anyone pulled over for any reason is resist initial requests from the officers.
In other words, comply with demands for production of a license and registration. Beyond that, keep in mind that anyone pulled over by the police has the right to remain completely silent.
The question then is whether remaining silent will heighten or lessen the chance that one will be placed under arrest. The best answer to that question is that the police officer must have probable cause for an arrest. This means that based on all of the surrounding circumstances, the police officer must believe that criminal activity has taken place. Therefore, when a NYC DWI is at issue, police officers will commonly look for things like balance, whether eyes are bloodshot, and slurred speech.
Depending on the police officer, failure to say something may raise suspicion. If suspicion is sufficiently high, a police officer will commonly ask one to step outside to perform certain tests that will later be used to form the substance of a criminal case. That is the next critical aspect in the process.
Know the Facts
Or contact an attorney who does
Rarely in any legal matter, criminal or otherwise, is there a form of evidence that can unequivocally determine whether one is guilty of a crime.
Scientific evidence such as that which a breathalyzer produces is fairly close to being just that type of evidence. Therefore, it is very important to decide whether one wants to breathe or not. Of course, a breathalyzer may always be refused. However, if one is refused, then the defendant must prepare for certain consequences. For one, the defendant’s license will be suspended for one year. Beyond that, a refusal hearing at the Department of Motor Vehicles will be scheduled to determine whether continued license suspension is warranted. If one loses at the hearing, then license suspension will be continued until either a conditional license is issued or the case is concluded and one has to participate in certain programs connected to the courts. Regardless of those consequences, it is the position of many criminal defense attorneys that refusal to breathe, while having dangerous immediate consequences, is better for overall defense of the case.
The reason is discussed below
If there is no refusal, then the case proceeds with scientific evidence that the government may use against the defendant. Unfortunately for many defendants, judges and juries are sometimes inclined to agree with numbers without taking any other factors in the case into consideration. If one’s blood alcohol content is above the allowable limit, then a guilty verdict is possible. That is not to say that a victory for the defense is impossible with a good criminal defense attorney. A fact-finder at trial could determine that the police officer conducting the scientific test failed to follow proper protocol when doing so. An officer’s credibility on the stand is also crucial and if a fact-finder simply does not fully believe the officer or thinks that the officer is flatly lying, then an acquittal could take place. If a conviction does take place however, that is not always the end of the road. Certain post-trial remedies are available to defendants, such as an appeal or motions to vacate a conviction or sentence. For either to be successful, a criminal defense attorney that knows the process is necessary.