Virginia Criminal Defense Attorney
DUI traffic stops in Alexandria can lead to potentially serious consequences. Some people may panic when they are initially pulled over and unwittingly do something that puts them in a bad light with police officers. An experienced Alexandria DUI lawyer can provide pertinent information and procedures to follow when dealing with a DUI charge, some of which is provided below.
If you hear police sirens or see lights in your rear-view mirror, you should pull over immediately. Do not try to lead Alexandria police on a chase or try to extend the stop; just pull over immediately. If you do try to lead the police on a chase or do not pull over immediately, you can be charged with another offense called eluding. You do not want evidence that shows that you are afraid to be pulled over. Pull over in the first safe spot and cooperate with police.
Generally, the first safe spot to pull over depends on the scenario. There is nothing you can do to signal your intentions to the police other than slowing down, putting on your turn signal, and pulling over at the first safe spot.
If an officer asks you to roll down your window, you should do so. Until that point, there is no need to roll down the window per se. Essentially, you should follow police instructions.
If police ask you to turn your car off, you should do so, but if you do it without being instructed, that is usually not a major problem. The most helpful thing to remember when you have been pulled over is to remain compliant with police officers.
Typically, the officer will first ask for your license and registration. Then he or she will typically ask you whether you’ve been drinking that night, and if so, where were you drinking, when was your last drink, how much you had to drink and any other questions that can elicit information to be used against you later in court.
You never have to answer an officer’s questions beyond your name, and if you are pulled over: your license and registration; you always have a right to refuse to answer questions. Police can’t force you to make statements against yourself or even statements in general. No matter how much they ask you, you always have a right to refuse to answer questions put to you by the police, even if you’re under arrest.
You can then expect that the officer will probably take your license and registration back to the police car, where he or she will run it through the system to ensure that the car is not stolen and that you are not wanted. Then, if the officer still suspects you are driving under the influence of alcohol, you will be asked to step out of the car and perform a field sobriety test. This is a standardized test that is taught to police in the academy, and is performed before every single DUI arrest.
The officer will then be looking at your performance in the field sobriety test, your ability to follow instructions, and your coordination to determine whether there is probable cause to believe that you are under the influence of alcohol. The officer will also ask you for any admission about your consumption of alcohol, and you will eventually have to blow into the preliminary breath test device, which is the device used on the street to determine whether there is alcohol in your system.
Participating in either of these two tests will likely provide police officers with probably cause to place you under arrest for a DUI. Before agreeing to take any tests, ask to speak to your Alexandria DUI attorney. They will be able to provide you valuable guidance on how you should proceed and how to protect your rights.
If there is alcohol in your system to the point that the officer has probable cause to arrest you, he or she will conduct the arrest and put you in the back seat of the cruiser. You will then be transported to the precinct for booking, where you will be searched and asked to blow into another machine. If you refuse to do that, the police will charge you and book for you for the night. If you do blow into the other machine, officers may use the reading as evidence against you.