What To Do When You Are Drunk And Get Pulled Over By A Police Officer
Before reading any further in this article, it is crucial that you watch the linked video prior to attempting any interaction with ANY law official. For the purpose of this article, officers of the court, sheriffs, bailiffs, peace officers, K9 units, detectives, SWAT officers, air marshals, parking meter officers, and any other duly sworn law enforcement officers within the United States of America constitute "law officials." Additionally, this article was set down in March of 2022 and written in a specific police district. This means that laws and codes may be far different for readers depending upon their own time and region.
The Set Up
So you are at the bar and you have had a few drinks. You worked all day and you are tired and it's time to go home. Walk? Nope, not tonight, you fucked up your knee while you were working and you also just spent 70k on that brand new pickup truck. You have made the decision to drive to your home (or ex-girlfriend's house) while under the influence of alcohol. While you are breaking the law, you also know that millions of people have driven home drunk billions of times over the course of the last 100 years. The chances of you getting pulled over are like 300 to 1, and you aren't so drunk that you will be going 90 miles per hour in reverse right through the middle of a school zone, so what the fuck? Who cares? You climb into that nice new big ass truck and start driving home.
Tricky Questions You May Be Asked
First off, cops are allowed to lie to you. Most people think that officers of the law are somehow perfect beings, almost angelic in their duties. Nothing could be further than the truth. Both the Supreme Court and several circuit courts have upheld the statute that police officers are allowed to lie to a suspect.
Notice that I said I "suspect." Since everybody is a suspect, they can lie to you, but sometimes lies come in the form of questions.
- Do you have any idea as to why I have pulled you over? Answering this question constitutes the idea that you know you were performing an illegal action. Always feign ignorance.
- Are you calm now? Answering this question in the affirmative suggests evidence that you were not calm before, indicating that you were acting erratically when dealing with the officer.
- How much have you had to drink tonight? Any answer is a wrong answer. Telling an officer that you have been drinking is automatic arrest. Telling an officer that you have NOT been drinking allows the officer to enter evidence that you are lying to a police official.
- Where are you coming from? Answering this question will help the police officer draw conclusions as to what you have been doing. Don't help them.
- Any other questions that are variations of the above questions.
The Worst Happens
Some bored cop sees you drive by in your nice new truck and this guy has like six more hours left on his shift. He slides in, behind you as you drive home, looking for anything...any excuse to pull you over. Heck, he doesn't even need an excuse, he can turn those lights on and give you a shot or two of the sirens for absolutely no reason.
So he pulls you over. You, a mostly upstanding and law abiding citizen, are scared. You know that despite the fact that you follow the laws, mostly, the guy that is pulling you over can bend the laws you follow to the breaking point. He walks up to your window, blinding you with his flashlight, and asks you for your license, registration, and proof of insurance. You hand these to him through your window, but the window is only rolled down a quarter of the way. He asks you to roll the window down completely. Cooperate with everything he is telling you to do so far. Remember, this isn't a normal traffic stop for speeding, you have actually broken the law and you want to be on his good side as much as possible.
He will also ask you if you know why he pulled you over...
STOP! DO NOT ANSWER THIS QUESTION.
You are not obligated to roll down your window any further than necessary, but do it anyways. All you are obliged to do is provide the officer with your identification and the other documents he has asked you for. Hand them over and then, calmly, inform the officer that you are invoking your 5th amendment rights. <--THIS IS IMPORTANT. You may have to remind the guy several times, as they are prone to keep asking you questions. Some of these questions may seem innocuous, but they are not. Do not talk to the police.
Not talking to the police offers you protection, but at the same time allows you to listen to what the officer is saying to you.
At some point, the officer will ask you to step out of the vehicle as he has detected the odor of alcohol...or some other bullshit like you were swerving or you are acting erratic. None of this matters unless you are fall down drunk. Do as he says and step out of the vehicle. Be aware that at all times you are being video recorded. Both the officer and the officer's cruiser have cameras set up to record what you are doing. It is for this reason that you must remain calm, do not antagonize the officer, and do nothing out of the ordinary if you want to get your ass out of this.
Once you are out of the vehicle, he will tell you that he will be administering some field sobriety tests and that refusal to submit to these tests will result in you having your license suspended for a period of one year. Do not be scared by this tactic. Yes, if you are convicted later on, your license will be suspended, but you will have your day in court and such suspensions can be circumvented. He will then ask you to take the tests he wishes to administer.
STOP! DO NOT SUBMIT TO ANY FIELD SOBRIETY TESTING.
Remember, you are being digitally recorded, so you must remain calm and you must inform the officer that you will not be performing any tests. He will attempt to influence you into doing such tests, so you must again inform him of your 5th amendment rights. Yes, the 5th amendment grants you the right to remain silent, but it also grants you the power to not allow law officials to stage new evidence that they may collect while you are being recorded.
Refusing field sobriety testing usually results in police officers becoming angry. They will reiterate that your license will be suspended for a year and they will probably get on their radio and call a few of their buddies. This is a tactic that police use to intimidate suspects: Surround and conquer. Do not allow yourself to be scared because this is all a formality until you get into court and get a chance to have a bit of power of your own.
Now that you have refused the testing and you have angered a police officer that has your license in his possession, he will keep your license. Later on, they will destroy it, so kiss it goodbye. At the same time, since you have pissed him off by not giving him any evidence of being drunk while driving, he will arrest you. The charge will be Reckless Driving.
This is a catch all charge akin to "disorderly conduct." The charge basically allows the police officer to arrest you for anything whenever he wants. I have been told by police officers, in polite conversation, that every driver breaks about 50 laws every time they get behind the wheel, so you now understand that everything has been stacked against you from the start. They can pull you over because they have a butt itch.
Being arrested allows them further powers over you that you may not have thought of, but again, relax and wait for your day in court. First, they can now search your car, so you better not have any drugs in there or you are gonna get assfucked. Second, they can now take you to the police station and ask you to take a breathalyzer test. These days, most police cruisers have a BAC unit in the vehicle, but if they don't, they certainly have one down at the station. That's where you are headed.
Other Bad Things
Just because you haven't given the cops any evidence, they aren't stupid. They know you are drunk. Because of this, they are going to impound your vehicle. You are going to have to sit in the back of the police cruiser while the officer waits for the tow truck to arrive. Then, sadly, you are going to have to watch as the wrecker drags your pride an joy away to the impound yard.
Getting your car out depends on the tow truck company, but it will probably cost you a couple hundred bucks to get your car back.
The Police Station
Once they have you down at the station, you will be photographed, finger printed, and all the other stuff you have seen on television. Next, they will ask you to take a Blood Alcohol Content Test.
DO NOT AGREE TO TAKE THIS TEST
Taking this test now will only further incriminate you. You already refused to take the field sobriety tests, so taking the BAC test now will not magically get your license un-suspended.
Now, depending upon how bored or angry the officer is, they may attempt to gather evidence from you by getting a warrant for your blood or urine. To do this, they have to call a judge and get him to sign the warrant. If the judge does this, you are pretty much fucked and the rest of this article will not help you much. Let's just hope they don't call the judge.
If they don't get a warrant for your blood or urine, you will have to spend some time in a holding cell until they can arrange to take you down town to the actual jail. You will probably be given your phone call at this time. While in my opinion, calling home is probably the best thing to do and what I would do personally, you may have other ideas.
A couple of things can happen now, depending on your particular police department, your municipality, and the laws in your area. They can release you on your own recognizance, but this is usually when you have called somebody to pick you up. "Recog" is good for your case, it means that you don't have to pay bail to get out of jail. You will probably just have to sign something that says you will show up to court. If they keep you overnight, be it in their holding cell or downtown in the jail, you will be arraigned in the morning for whatever charges they could figure out to charge you with. It also means that you were drunk enough to make them think you needed time in the drunk tank to sober up.
This is the part where the judge tells you what you are charged with. Then some court official will hand you a bunch of papers and you will be released. The batch of papers you were given will be a detailed list of your charges, copies of the original citation that the cops wrote up, and a few other things important to the process.
You do not plead at an arraignment. You do not argue your case at an arraignment. The whole process is just to formally charge you and then tell you about your rights. Also, they will tell you that you can get free legal aid and some other stuff you won't care about.
Release And What To Do Later
Whatever happens at this point, just relax until morning and get some rest because you are going to be busy after they release you. Once you are out, get a buddy to drive you directly to your local Bureau of Motor Vehicles and be there with the correct paperwork you will need before they even open up. Once inside, ask the worker there that you need a replacement license because you lost your current one. It is important that you tell them just this and nothing else. Do not tell them anything about the previous night's traffic stop and arrest.
Because most cities have schedules as to how information is entered into their traffic computer system and a shitload of red-tape, they probably have not entered your arrest and refusal to submit to field sobriety testing into their system yet. This means you can get a replacement license right now, before you go to court for your charges. This will be good for you later on.
Next, call a lawyer. Get on google, hit the yellow pages, or whatever, and find a lawyer that specializes in OVI, OMVI, and DUI cases. Yes, you haven't been charged with any of those things, but it is good to have a mouthpiece that does this job on the regular. Explain to him or her on the phone exactly what you did and what happened. He may want to take your case and will ask for a retainer, or he may say that you do not need one. If he wants a retainer, it will probably run you a couple grand, but they more you pay now, the less you pay later.
Finally, DO NOT BREAK THE LAW during the time you are waiting for your court case. Judges do not like it when somebody comes into their court with other charges pending. You want to appear as squeaky clean as humanly possible. Doing this will help you when you have to face the judge.
So you finally have your day in court. The prosecutor will read the charges against you and if you were smart and didn't give them any evidence against you, the charge should be reckless operation, not DUI. Next, the judge will address you. This is where you plead guilty, innocent, or no contest. Do what your lawyer tells you, but if you didn't retain a lawyer, plead not guilty. The judge will also explain a few things to you. Most of this deals with public legal aid and if you need time to get a lawyer. It is up to you if you want to get this continuance, but it is my opinion that the faster you get this all over with, the faster you can get it behind you.
If you proceed, the prosecutor will show any evidence that the police officers collected during your traffic stop. Usually, this will be the judge watching a quick video taken from their body cams and he will form an opinion. This opinion is what he is going to find you: guilty or innocent. He will find you guilty of reckless operation and then move to the penalty portion of the case.
Because you refused the field sobriety tests, the judge will inform you that your license is now suspended. This is where you ask him for work driving privileges...you have a job right? The court doesn't want to deprive you of making a living. You cannot pay fines if you are a bum. The judge will ask you your work hours so that he can make a schedule for when you are allowed to be on the road. Tell him that your job is "on call," which means you will have to drive at odd times. The judge will grant you work privileges that are basically 24-7, so you can still drive like the normal guy you used to be. Also, because you visited the BMV, you have an actual valid license in your wallet, so if you get pulled over during your suspension, you can present that ID to the next cop that comes along. Additionally, if you get carded for cigarettes, you will have a license and won't have to tell the cashier that you lost your license because you are a drunk bum.
The judge will then let you know what sort of fine you will have to pay. I have no idea what sort of fines and court costs you will incur, but remember the world hates drunk drivers more than they hate child rapists, so you are probably going to get a hefty fine. Yes, they know what you are doing because they have seen this strategy many times and you aren't fooling anybody. The fine is where they will make you pay for "getting out" of your DUI.
So, pay your fines and don't mess this one up. Those cops you made angry will just love serving you a warrant because you didn't pay, so don't give them any excuses to interact with you again.
If this is like your 7th time in front of this particular judge, it may not matter that you attempted the strategy detailed on this page. While the judge cannot penalize you for crimes you have not committed, he or she can add some fun things to your suspension:
- Party plates. In some states, the judge can issue special license plates that you must purchase and put on your car. These plates are colored differently than your state's normal plate and will alert other drivers and police officers that you are an alcoholic jerk who drives drunk.
- Home monitoring. This means you may get a visit by somebody who can put you in jail.
- Vehicle immobilization. They put a boot on your car and you have to find some other car to drive.
- Intoxilock© ignition interlock. This is a device that you may have to pay for, or at least pay for its installation. It won't let you start the car until you have blown into the portable BAC computer. Also, it won't let you start the car if you have any alcohol in your system.
- They add six points to your license. Besides jumping up your insurance rates, this could nail you for a stiffer suspension depending on how many points you already had on your license when you got stopped originally.
Briefly, I should mention that on average, a DUI will run you about $10,000 in fines, court costs, insurance, and potential work loss.
Originally, I didn't think it would be necessary to say DO NOT DRIVE DRUNK, but during the writing of this article, it occurred to me that most people are retarded and not understand that this is a "what if" situation.
- I KEEP TELLING YOU NOT TO TALK TO COPS
- because that is what they do.
- Blood Alcohol Content
- All of these are different words for the same charge and yes, you can be charged with "operating a vehicle intoxicated" which means anything with wheels on it.
- Or mayor or whatever, depending on where you broke the law.
- Because you like to party down