First, you should never put yourself or anyone else at risk by drinking and driving. However, if you do find yourself in this situation and you see the red and blue lights behind you, put your blinker on, and do your best calmly pull over without jerking the wheel one way or the other. Turn on your interior lights in the car, roll down the window, and place your hands on the steering wheel so the officer will not feel threatened. It is always important to put the officer’s safety concerns at ease as quickly as possible, so they will feel comfortable with you.
The officer will usually begin by asking for your license, registration, and proof of insurance; all of which are required pursuant to Nevada law. It is best to have this documentation handy and avoid fumbling with it when handing it to the officer. Do not get out of your car unless you are asked to. Make sure that you do not stumble or trip when you exit your vehicle. The officer will then begin his investigation by asking a series of questions: Where are you going? Where are you coming from? Have you had anything to drink? There is no magic answer to any of these questions that will get you off the hook.
The painful truth is that in order to be in the best position to beat a DUI case, you must first admit defeat. You have to understand that you are going to be arrested and you are going to jail as soon as you see the flashing lights in your rear view mirror. There is almost nothing to prevent it from happening once you have reached that point. Why, you ask? Because nothing you can say will help you. We have to prevent the officer from making the subjective determinations that will get you convicted of Driving Under the Influence. Do not believe that being candid with the police officer is going to help you. If you tell the officer you had two drinks, he will think you are lying. If you tell him you had 4, he will think that’s too much for you to be driving because 4 drinks at .02 per drink is .08. If you do the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, you will not pass them. You do not get to practice them, and you do not know what the scoring criteria is that the officer is looking for, because he does not tell you. The field sobriety tests are designed for failure.
In most cases, the best thing for you to do when you are suspected of DUI is to be polite, respectful, and completely uncooperative. That means that you politely and respectfully answer the officer’s question of “where are you coming from” with “I don’t feel comfortable answering that question or any other questions. If I am not free to go, then I wish to speak with a lawyer before I cooperate with you any further.” You do not have the right to an attorney at this point, and the officer will no doubt let you know that, but continue to firmly and politely insist on your position. Follow the officer’s directions to get out of your vehicle and to stand where he tells you, and keep in mind that the officer is documenting EVERYTHING you do and say. Politely refuse to answer his questions and to perform the field sobriety tests.
Once you are arrested, the officer will read you the implied consent. Under the implied consent statute in Nevada, any person who is arrested for DUI shall be deemed to have given his consent to an evidentiary chemical test of his blood, breath, or urine to determine the concentration of alcohol. If you refuse to consent to a blood or breath test, the officer must apply for a search warrant before he can draw your blood without your consent. Pursuant to Nevada law, the blood or breath test must happen within two hours from the time you were driving the vehicle for the results to paint an accurate depiction of what your blood alcohol concentration was at the time you were driving. If the officer has to obtain a warrant, it may take him longer than two hours to do so.
If you have been arrested for DUI, it is very important to choose a lawyer who is competent and aggressive with skill and experience. Our firm will ensure that your legal rights are protected, and will aggressively defend you in your DUI case.
Daniel E. Martinez, Esq.