Okay, so you’re wondering what happens, you’ve been drinking and driving and now you just got pulled over, what should and shouldn’t you do, those are the questions I’m going to answer .
Let’s start with you getting pulled over. The officer is going to be looking for signs that you’re impaired or over the limit. It’s not illegal to drink and drive in Minnesota but it is illegal to be over the limit or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. So, when they’re coming up they’re looking for things like bloodshot watery eyes, slurred speech, and admission that you’ve been drinking an odor of alcohol, any empty containers or full containers of liquor in your car and so forth. So, what you can’t control most of that if your speech is slurred you can’t really do anything about that. If your eyes are bloodshot and watery you can’t really do anything about that but you can control the odor of alcohol in your car a little bit and I advise you to roll down the windows and try to air out the car as much as you can while the officer is approaching.
The other thing is a lot of people want to know if an officer asks me, should I admit that I was drinking or not? That’s your call, I’ll tell you that if they ask you if you were drinking and if you say yes they’re going to use that against you. If you deny drinking and it turns out you were drinking later and they found out sometimes I’ll use it against you sometimes they won’t but that’s a judgment call that you have to make about whether or not you want to admit that you were drinking before you drove.
What kind of tests do they have to determine if I’m over the limit or under the influence?
Okay, if they think that’s going on they’ll ask you to get out of the car and take field sobriety tests. First of all, you don’t have to take those you can politely refuse that. Also they’ll ask you to take a breath test on the side of the road and you can politely refuse that as well but if you’re going to want to go along with them then the first thing they’ll usually ask you to do is take the horizontal gaze nystagmus test which is the eye test and they’re watching for your eyes to jerk back and forth. They’ll also ask you to do the walk and turn test which is heel to toe nine steps take a military pivot and come back and then they’ll ask you to take the one-leg stand test which is a stand on one leg with your arms at your sides for up to 30 seconds. When they’re giving you those tests they’ll look for signs that you’re intoxicated on the eye test they want to know how your eyes are jerking back and forth and things like that.
On the other two tests the walk and turn and the one-leg stand they want to see if you have balance and whether you’re able to follow their directions and do the tests the way that they explain them to you. Again you don’t have to take those tests and you might want to consider whether or not you should take them if you think you’re at the limit or over the limit or under the influence of alcohol.
After they give you those field sobriety tests they’ll ask you to take that portable breath test on the side of the road or in their squad car. Again you don’t have to do that. If you do that they’re going to try to tell you to blow as hard as you can you don’t have to blow as hard as you can you have to blow hard enough for the machine to register but that’s it. Again if you fail those field sobriety tests or you fail that roadside breath test then they’re going to place you under arrest for DWI. Also if you refuse to take the field sobriety tests or if you refuse to take that roadside breath test they automatically get to arrest you for DWI which doesn’t mean you’re guilty of DWI that just means that they get to take you back to the police station and then ask you to take the real test that counts against you at the police station which is a blood, breath or urine test.
And out of those three tests which is the best one to take?
It depends on the situation if they offer you a breath test back at the police station not the one on the side of the road that doesn’t count anymore. If they offer the one at the at the police station the breath test you don’t have another choice it’s either take that test or refuse. If you refuse at that time it’s a crime and you lose your license for a year. So, in most circumstances it’s a very bad idea to refuse the test. If they offer you blood or urine you have the choice they might say will you take a blood test? If you’re afraid of needles or something you can say no to that and then they have to offer you a urine test. But if you say no to the urine test also then they can get you with the refusal. So, if they offer your blood you can say no but then you have to take the urine test or you’ll get a refusal. If they offer your urine you can say no but then you have to take the blood test. But if they offer you breath they don’t have to offer you blood or urine you can ask about that. Ninety-nine point nine percent of the cases it’s a very bad idea to refuse one of those tests, so if they ask you to take a test you should agree to take one of them.
To make sure that this applies to your case you have the opportunity to call a lawyer first before you agree to one of those tests while you’re back at the police station or while you’re in the squad car you can call a lawyer and get some advice upon which test to take and how to take it and I urge you to do that.