What Should I Do When Confronted With An Officer Who Wants To Conduct A DWI Investigation With Me As The Target?
Being cooperative does not mean confessing or performing balance tests. This simply means that you should be direct and cooperative by following the officer’s reasonable commands, like getting out of the car when ordered by the officer, submitting to a pat down search and arrest, and providing breath samples when requested to do so. If an officer asks you questions, the best response is to say, “I’m sorry, officer. I’m not answering any questions. I’d like to call my lawyer.” It is not a time to tell the officer that your taxes pay his salary, that you know your rights, or to tell him or her that he or she is a public servant and should get you a cup of coffee. Nor should you drop names, because a prosecutor can argue that you are seeking special favor because you have a consciousness of guilt.
If officers ask for your driver’s license, registration and insurance card, give it to them. Get out of the car if they order you to get out of the car. Don’t do balance tests by politely declining to do them on the advice of your attorney. Balance tests are designed to induce signs of impairment, regardless whether that impairment is from something other than drugs or alcohol. Cops aren’t qualified to distinguish between impairment from alcohol and drugs versus being nervous, tired, or distracted and always assume the most guilty explanation to justify an arrest.
In sum: Remain silent, ask for a lawyer, and decline to do balance tests. Follow lawful orders like give driving credentials, getting out of the car, submitting to the arrest, and blowing into the machine.
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