One of the most common questions put to us outside of the office is how
to avoid getting arrested for
You may think the easy answer is to just not drink and drive.
But we’ve seen over and over that drivers who are completely sober
can still be arrested.
We’ve even seen people who got arrested for DUI who weren’t driving.
So the way you best defend yourself against a false or unfair DUI charge
is to know how to handle a police encounter.
If you are driving, you also should always keep your driver’s license,
proof of insurance, and registration (and make sure everything is current!),
together in a place where it will be easy to access. Quickly getting your
documents together if stopped by the police is one of the best ways to
try to speed through the encounter.
You have many legal rights and protections under the law that can help
you avoid unnecessary charges. Starting off you should be polite and respectful,
but assertive of your rights.
You are never required to tell the police that you have been drinking,
used drugs, or take prescriptions. Many DUI arrests occur because police
find out someone takes prescribed medications. If the police ask you these
sorts of questions you should decline to answer them (I want to remain silent).
Ask the police if you are free to leave. If they say yes, then do so.
If the police ask you to step out of your car you have to comply. But,
you can lock your doors on the way out and shut them behind you (be sure
to take your keys).
If the police ask if they can search your car you can say no. DUI arrests
can happen if the police find old cans\bottles, paraphernalia, or prescriptions,
even if you haven’t recently taken them.
If you are asked to take a field sobriety test, such as where they look
into your eyes, you can decline this procedure too. This won’t get
you in trouble, or cause your license to be suspended.
If you can keep your wits about you, remain polite but assertive with your
rights, you have the best chance at avoiding a DUI arrest. If an arrest
is still inevitable you will have minimized the amount of evidence that
the police can try to use against you, meaning that you will have better
odds in court.
Facing a current DUI charge? If so, your first step should be to get a
copy of our
free report on South Carolina DUI law and defenses. This will give you the information you need, before you go to court or
make any decisions about your case.