Traditionally, the Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving Day is the busiest bar night everywhere. This is because most people are off for the Thanksgiving holiday and friends and family are home for the holiday weekend.
And because it's a busy bar night, law enforcement will be out looking to make DUI arrests… in fact, as many arrests as they can. Remember law enforcement agencies get federal grant money for every DUI arrest they make; it has become a funding mechanism for law enforcement agencies. The problem is they are not just looking for “drunk” or “impaired” drivers, they will arrest anyone that has drank alcohol.
So here are some Tips to Avoid a DUI conviction:
Tip #1. Don't drink and drive! If you have been drinking, call a taxi or have a friend drive you home.
Tip #2. If you do Drive, Don't park near the bars! Cops or their agents routinely drive through popular bar parking lots and note descriptions of cars in the parking lot and wait for the car to leave, then invent some reason to stop the car. Never park near the bar!
Tip #3. Always drive safely. Cops routinely stop cars for speeding, not using turn signal, etc… and then before you know it, it turns into a DUI investigation.
Tip #4. DO NOT drive though fast food drive-thru restaurants after a night of drinking. Cops work with many fast food restaurants and train their employees to report potential DUI drivers. If you look like you were drinking, the fast food employee may call the cops on you and give you some excuse like –“it will take a while to cook your order, can you park and we'll bring your food to your car...” to delay you until the cop arrives. The sad thing is the fast food joint took your money too!
Tip #5. If you have been stopped, DO NOT let the police officer check your eyes and do not agree to other Field Sobriety Tests. The bottom line is that you don't have to do any Field Sobriety Tests (NOTE: if you are on probation for a prior DUI conviction, doing the tests may be a term of your probation). If you're not on DUI probation, no law requires a person suspected of DUI to do Field Sobriety Tests. These tests are completely voluntary and are made up of unnatural movements. Field Sobriety Tests are nothing more than the cop playing "Simon Says" with you on the side or the road and are designed for you to fail.
Tip #6. DO NOT answer questions about drinking during a DUI investigation. Everyone has a right to remain silent and not say anything that would incriminate themselves. Cops will try to get you to tell them what you drank, what time was your first drink, what time did you take your last drink, etc. They are building a case against you. Any statement that you make will be used against you. Politely say to the officer: “I choose to exercise my 5th amendment rights and remain silent and not answer your questions.”
Tip #7. NEVER BLOW into a breath machine, ALWAYS request a Blood test. If you are arrested for DUI, you must choose a chemical test – always choose a blood test and never blow into a breath machine. The results of a breath test can be unreliable based on a number of factors. NOTE: If you are under 21 years of age, OR are on probation for a prior DUI conviction, you must blow into the cop's breath machine.
Tip #8. Choose a blood test. Again, NEVER blow into a breath device, choose a Blood test if you are arrested for an alcohol related DUI. Blood samples are analyzed using a complicated process called gas chromatography, which can have unreliable results if not done correctly. There are other factors that can also lead to unreliable blood test results.
Tip #9. Make sure all of your car's lights, turn signals, etc., are working properly. Cops are looking for a reason to stop drivers at night, so check your car before you leave home to make sure your lights are working correctly.
Tip #10. Always be on your best behavior. Cops often have video cameras and/or audio recorders and can record the stop and DUI investigation. Videos can make it easier to defend your case, but they can hurt as well if you are rude, etc.
Tip #11. If you are arrested for DUI, be sure to hire an expert DUI defense attorney to represent you. DUI cases are not “open and shut” - they are complex cases but can be very defensible and require that the defense attorney have specialized knowledge in DUI investigations as well as chemical test analysis.
Some people ask: "If I don't cooperate with the cop, won't he or she arrest me?" The reality is that if you've drank alcohol and the cop smells it, the cop will arrest you whether or not you cooperated.
The real question is: How much evidence do you want to give the cop to use against you to try to convict you of DUI?