duiPolice, prosecutors, judges and juries all take drunk driving very seriously, even if the offender has no criminal history at all. The only way to be completely safe from a DWI conviction is to never drive after having even a single drink.

Any time you are pulled over by the police, leave your hands visible, on the steering wheel, and leave your windows up until instructed otherwise. You do not have to roll the window all the way down.

Without being rude, refrain from having a conversation with the officer. Simply ask, “why did you pull me over?” If they ask you where you are going, if you have been drinking, etc., simply repeat the question: “why did you pull me over?” Step out of the vehicle if asked to do so, then say: “why did you pull me over?”

In Virginia you are not required to take the police officer’s field sobriety tests (e.g., walk and turn, say the alphabet backwards, stand on one foot etc).

Nor are you required to take the preliminary breath test (PBT), which is a handheld breathalyzer that police use in the field.

If you are taken to the police station on suspicion of DUI, it is a crime to refuse to give a breath sample if requested to do so.

You may be arrested and charged with a DWI and/or another traffic violation. Do not answer any questions if you are arrested. Repeat again and again that you are invoking your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney, even if the officer claims that this will only make things worse.

You will ultimately see a magistrate (not a law enforcement officer) to determine if you qualify for bond. As soon as you can, contact me, or have a friend or family member do so. Your right to have an attorney doesn’t mean much if you don’t get experienced legal counsel immediately.

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