Most people have had one too many and gotten behind the wheel. In fact, on average, a convicted drunk driver has driven drunk 80 times before his or her first arrest. Let’s set the scene. It’s a Friday night and you were at your favorite local watering hole with some friends. You had a couple drinks and you decided to go home. First thing you should always do, is take an Uber, Lyft, taxi, or call a designated driver. This is ALWAYS the safer and cheaper option. However, if you do drive under the influence, you need to be aware of important information.
- To make a traffic stop, the police must have a “reasonable suspicion” that a traffic violation has occurred. Normally, this will entail a burnt tail/head light or moving violation such as improper lane usage or careless operation of a motor vehicle.
- When the police attempt to stop you, ALWAYS stop your vehicle as soon as safely possible.
- NEVER EVER ADMIT TO DRINKING/TAKING DRUGS
- The first and possibly most crucial stage is the called the initial investigation. In Louisiana, especially Southwest Louisiana, the only thing the police need to arrest you for DUI is that you were driving the car and they saw physical signs of impairment. These physical signs include:
- red/bloodshot eyes
- the smell of alcohol on your breath
- slurring of words
- swaying while standing
- Next you will be asked to perform Standardized Field Sobriety Tests. These tests are used to assess your level of impairment and include the following tests:
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) – This test measure involuntary eye movement
- The Walk and Turn – This involves listening to instructions then taking 9 heel-to-toe steps on an imaginary line, turning in place, and taking nine heel-to-toe steps back
- The One Leg Stand/Raise – This involves raising one leg off the ground and counting out loud to 30
NEVER under ANY circumstances should you perform these tests!
- After you refuse this test, they will most likely place you under arrest and give you your Miranda warnings. Once you hear those Miranda Warnings, you say nothing whatsoever without a lawyer present. DO NOT INITIATE CONVERSATION AFTER THIS.
- In the last phase the police will offer you a Breathalyzer/Intoxilyzer exam.
- First and foremost, DO NOT sign anything.
- Second, when the officer is interviewing you, DO NOT say anything. The only word that should come out of your mouth is “Lawyer.”
- After the interview, the officer will try and tell you that it is better to give a breath sample because if you do not, your license will be suspended. This is a trick because whether you blow or not, your license is going to be suspended. NEVER give a breath sample. If you do give a breath sample, and the sample tests higher than .08 BAC, then you are presumed to be impaired.
- The officers will then ask you to offer a urine sample. NEVER give a sample. DO make the officers get a warrant for your breath, blood, or urine. That is part of your body, and it has major consequences for your privacy and criminal case.
If you or someone you know has received a DUI, please contact Algero Law for a free consultation or to get it expunged from your record.