We here at The Law Office of H. Chase Harbin want to emphasize to all Greenville, SC and Greenville County drivers that driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a crime. So, do not drink and drive. And remember that prescription and over the counter drugs can cause impairment just as easily as illegal drugs. However, if are pulled over for driving under the influence (“DUI”), you need to call us as experienced and courtroom-tested criminal defense lawyers. Call immediately; timing matters. In the meantime, here is a quick rundown on what NOT to do during a DUI traffic stop.
Greenville SC DUI Defense: Do NOT Flee or Evade
When you see the lights in your rear view mirror, there is a normal “fight or flight” adrenaline rush that occurs. This is particularly true if the police speed up and appear to be “chasing” you. Your normal human reaction is to speed up. Do NOT do that.
Likewise, if you know you have drunk too much or if you know you are impaired by drugs, do NOT flee or try and evade the traffic stop. Fleeing makes your legal problems 10 times worse.
Greenville SC DUI Defense Attorneys: Do NOT Lose Your Temper Or Be Abusive
The next rule is do NOT lose your temper or antagonize the police officer in any way. In other words, remain calm. Yes, a DUI traffic stop is stressful. The lights are going. It is probably night-time. You are tired and want to get home. You are worried that, maybe, you DID drink too much.
Take some deep breaths and remain calm. Being polite can be effective with a police officer and result in getting a warning instead of a ticket. Officers are people too and they react better to politeness. It might not work. But being rude, abusive and angry with a police officer will result, with certainty, in a ticket and potentially worse.
Greenville SC DUI Defense Attorneys: Do NOT Be Completely Passive
If you think, maybe, you HAVE been drinking too much, do not be completely passive. You can take one simple step to help: lower your driver’s side window (and maybe another window). The air might help you be more alert and might dissipate the smell of alcohol (if any). That might be just enough to avoid a sobriety test.
Greenville SC DUI Defense Attorneys: Do NOT Admit You Were Drinking Or That You Have Used Drugs
Often, the officer will point-blank ask you if you have been drinking. Do NOT say “yes.” Politely say: “I do not wish to answer that question.” Do not buckle under pressure because the office might then say, maybe with a raised voice: “What do you mean?” Repeat what you just said (politely): “I do not wish to answer that question.”
Do NOT incriminate yourself (but do not lie either). Stick to your guns. Your talented criminal defense lawyer is better able to help you avoid prosecution if you do not admit that you were drinking.
Greenville SC DUI Defense Attorneys: Do NOT Answer Other Questions — Say “I Do Not Know”
One big “trick” that law enforcement is trained to do is ask: “Do you know why I pulled you over?” Usually, the question is asked loudly with an “authoritative voice” like a school principal or a drill sergeant would use. This is a trick question and the officer is trying to intimidate you. Do NOT answer the question because you may incriminate yourself. If you say, for example, “Yes, I was speeding,” then that will be used against you in court.
Instead, politely say: “No, officer, I do not know why you stopped me.”
Greenville SC DUI Defense Attorneys: Do NOT Talk Too Much
Likewise, do not talk too much. Police officers are trained to ask you questions when they arrive at your window. This is done for several reasons:
(i) to test for slurred speech — a sign of impairment;
(ii) to check cognitive function — another sign of impairment;
(iii) to check for nervousness — a sign of possible criminal behavior; and
(iv) to obtain incriminating statements.
As such, you will need to speak to the officer, but DO NOT TALK TOO MUCH. If you are asked a question, try and keep your answers to a “yes” or a “no.”
Greenville SC DUI Defense Attorneys: Do NOT Take Any Field Sobriety Tests
Do NOT take any of the field sobriety tests. Politely say “no.” Yes, you are at risk to lose your driving license for a year, but that is more preferable than having a DUI conviction. Remember, what happens on the road is videotaped. Officers are required to turn on the video recording equipment when they first turn on their flashing lights. Everything on the video is likely admissible at your trial. So, give the prosecution as little evidence as possible.
Plus, maybe you are just at the edge of legally being over the limit. There might be an hour or two before the officer gets you to the station for the in-station sobriety test. On the side of the road, you might have “blown” an 0.08125 percent blood alcohol level; but a half hour later, the number is 0.07889 percent. Give your lawyer the best chance of helping you avoid a conviction.
Greenville SC DUI Defense Attorneys: Do NOT Give ANY Statements Without Your Trusted Lawyer Being Present
Finally, do NOT give any statements to the police without your lawyer being present. In response to every question that is asked, politely say: “I want my lawyer present.”
Greenville SC DUI Defense Attorneys: Contact The Law Office Of H. Chase Harbin Today
If you have been charged with a DUI, seek legal counsel from the skilled and experienced Greenville SC DUI defense attorneys at The Law Office of H. Chase Harbin. We will fight to prevent a DUI conviction. Contact us today via email or phone. We have offices in Greenville and Pickens, South Carolina.
Chase Harbin is a Criminal Defense Lawyer who practices in Pickens and Greenville, SC. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 17 years now. Chase Harbin believes in defending the accused. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.