29th November 2021
There’s never a good time to be pulled over for DUI, of course, but to have this happen during the holiday season is even worse. Instead of this being the best time of the year, it will suddenly be filled with stress and worry.
A DUI conviction has serious consequences. You could be looking at significant jail time and fines, and you’ll probably have to have an ignition interlock device attached to your vehicle. You’ll also face the suspension of your license for an extended period.
At Sand Law, our attorneys have a lot of experience helping people who have been accused of driving under the influence. We will make sure your rights are protected at all times, and guide you through the process of what happens after a DUI arrest. If you would like a free review of your case, please give us a call at 701-609-1510 or contact us online.
Here’s a look at why more people tend to be pulled over during the holiday season, as well as six things you should do if you are pulled over for suspicion of DUI.
Are More People Pulled Over for Suspected DUI Around the Holidays?
From 2010-2018, drunk driving accidents during the holiday season killed more than 6,700 people – nearly 700 per year. Of all the holiday season accidents attributed to drinking while driving during this time frame (16,205), 37% led to fatalities.
Family gatherings, office parties and other types of get-togethers are more commonplace during the holidays, of course. That means more opportunities for people to drink – even those who don’t normally imbibe might make an exception. But even having a couple of drinks might be enough to make a person impaired enough to where they can’t drive safely.
As a result, police departments throughout North Dakota and the rest of the country are hyper-vigilant about drunk driving during this time of year. They’re always on the lookout for potential DUI cases, regardless of what the calendar says. But during the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, that vigilance ratchets up even higher.
If this should happen to you, whether it’s during the holidays or any other time of the year, here are six steps to keep in mind.
1. Keep Calm
The natural reaction is to panic when pulled over for any reason, especially if you’ve had a few drinks. The first thing to remember is to stay as calm as you possibly can. Use your turn indicator and pull over as soon as you can, remembering to do so as safely as possible. Then, come to a complete stop. Everything is being recorded by the police car’s dashboard camera, so keep your composure.
2. Don’t Answer Every Question
You only need to tell the officer your name, and then provide your proof of insurance, driver’s license and car registration. That’s all you have to do. You don’t have to answer any questions if you don’t want to do so. The officer will very likely ask if you’ve had any alcohol, and if so, how many drinks you’ve had. You are well within your rights not to answer.
In fact, it will actually be best if you remain silent. Everything you say is not only being recorded, it will also be used against you.
3. Don’t Submit to a Field Sobriety Test
You want to be polite and cooperative throughout your interaction with the police. But what you DON’T want to do is agree to take a field sobriety test. The police officer cannot force you to do so. While you will need to step out of your car when asked, you can – respectfully – refuse to perform this test.
One of the biggest problems with a field sobriety test is that, in a lot of instances, it simply isn’t accurate. A person could have fantastic balance when sober and still fail something like the balance test, where you’re asked to stand on one leg for a certain amount of time.
There are a lot of reasons field sobriety tests are not dependable. Someone could have an inner ear issue or some sort of injury that affects their balance. They may have a speech impediment that makes it impossible for them to say the letters of the alphabet, which is another common type of sobriety test.
If you do agree to submit to this form of testing, it could damage your case to the point where you have no chance of winning. The best course of action will be to simply refuse.
4. Know the Consequences of Refusing a Breathalyzer
Breath tests are sometimes unreliable as well. But if you refuse, you do need to know that doing so will result in the suspension of your license for up to three years. There is, however, a chance that the suspension could later be thrown out if the officer made a mistake when preparing the police report, such as writing down the wrong time that the refusal was expressed.
5. Write Down Everything that Happened that Night
It will also be extremely important that you remember to take as many notes as possible should you be arrested. The more extensive your notes, the better the chances your attorney could potentially get your charges dropped. For example, write down where you were pulled over, and whether or not the officer read your Miranda rights. Note how long after you finished drinking you were pulled over, how much and what you had to drink, and how the officer behaved.
In short, write down everything you can, even if you don’t think it has any relevance to your case. Those notes could prove invaluable to your defense.
6. Hire North Dakota’s Premier DUI Defense Attorney
This very well could be the most important thing you do. Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney will be critical to your chances of either seeing your penalties reduced, or having your case thrown out completely.