Sobriety checkpoints are often set up throughout South Carolina when police believe drunk driving is likely to occur. Unfortunately, those obeying the law sometimes get caught up in these crackdowns.
Being stopped at a checkpoint or pulled over while driving can be scary for many us. Understanding how to handle the situation may save you a lot of legal trouble if you’re arrested and brought before a judge.
When you’ve been pulled over or stopped while driving
In most cases, you may be pulled over or stopped for a minor traffic infraction. At night or over certain holidays, police are out in full force looking for drunk drivers. Even if you haven’t been drinking, you’re at a greater chance of being stopped if police suspect you might be driving drunk.
Once you see the police lights flashing, you must pull over, make sure your hands are on your steering wheel, and be prepared to provide your driver’s license and vehicle registration. During a traffic stop, police may look for clues that you were driving drunk. They may ask where you came from or where you’re headed.
It’s crucial to understand that you legally do not have to answer any questions asked by police. Even if you know that you’re 100 percent innocent or believe you are helping police, it’s too easy to say something that can lead to more questioning or later be used against you.
When you’re arrested for DUI
If a police officer believes that you’ve been drinking, you may be asked to take a breath test or field sobriety test. You are well within your right to refuse them, but you can still be arrested and charged.
In many cases, these tests prove to be inaccurate. Field sobriety tests, for example, require DUI suspects to follow instructions that can be confusing and require a great deal of balance and coordination. Anyone can fail these tests, even when fully sober.
In the event of an arrest, don’t resist or attempt to talk your way out of it. Simply tell police that you want to speak to a lawyer. Once you’re booked, you will be given the option to make a phone call. If your call is made to a lawyer, police may not listen in.
Should you find yourself in this situation, make that phone call to Matt Bodman, P.A. in Columbia, South Carolina at 803-806-8605.
As a former prosecutor, attorney Matt Bodman knows how the system works and has real courtroom experience. If you have been arrested for DUI, he can help you fight the charges. To learn more, contact him online.