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Drunk Driver Being Stopped by an Officer

What Should I Do If I’m Stopped and Have Been Drinking?

Daniel J. Larin, P.C.  Oct. 24, 2023

In the state of Michigan, operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) or while visibly impaired (OWVI) by alcohol or drugs is prohibited. If you're suspected of drunk driving, a law enforcement officer may pull your vehicle over, ask you some questions, or request that you take some DUI tests. Unfortunately, many individuals are unaware of their rights or the next steps to take after a drunk driving stop, especially when they've actually been drinking or intoxicated. 

At Daniel J. Larin, P.C., we proudly fight for your rights. Our highly-skilled Michigan criminal defense attorney can examine the conditions and inform you about what to do if you're pulled over while intoxicated. Even if you're charged with DUI/OWI, we will be there for you – and seek to keep your record clean. Our firm proudly serves clients across Birmingham, Rochester Hills, and Oakland County, Michigan. 

What to Do If You're Pulled Over While Intoxicated

If you're pulled over by the police while driving impaired or intoxicated, here's what you should do: 

Pull Over Safely 

Pull over your car slowly and safely. Use your turn signal and stop your vehicle at a safe place by the side of the roadway. Follow the standard pull-over procedures, and do not incriminate yourself. 

Stay Calm and Composed 

Remain calm and composed. This reassures the law enforcement officer that you're willing to cooperate with them. Also, do not attempt to flee. 

Be Polite and Respectful 

Be polite and respectful when responding to the police officer. Call them "officer," and respond to them courteously. Even if you do not wish to speak, decline politely and respectfully. 

Do Not Admit to Drinking 

It is likely that the officer will ask your whereabouts or whether you've been drinking. Do not admit to drinking. You may end up implicating yourself by admitting that you've taken a few pints of beer. 

Know Your Rights 

It is vital to know your rights when pulled over by the police for alleged drunk driving. Some of your constitutional rights include: 

  • You have the right against unlawful search and seizure. 

  • You have the right to avoid incriminating yourself. 

  • You have the right to refuse the preliminary or portable breath test. 

  • You have a right to refuse to take field sobriety tests. 

  • You have a right to retain an attorney. 

Provide Basic Information 

You do have to provide the law enforcement officer with the necessary identification and documentation, including your name, vehicle registration, driver's license, and insurance information. Do not provide any additional information or answer questions without your attorney to avoid self-incrimination. 

Decline Field Sobriety Tests  

After the drunk driving stop, the police officer may ask you to take some DUI tests – such as field sobriety tests and chemical tests – to determine whether you're intoxicated or sober. Under Michigan law, field sobriety tests are voluntary. You don't have to take them, and there are no punishments for refusal. 

Conversely, chemical tests – such as blood, breath, urine, or saliva tests – are mandatory. According to Michigan Implied Consent Law, drivers who are suspected and arrested for drunk driving must submit to a chemical test – breath, urine, or blood test. Refusing a chemical test after a lawful arrest may subject you to automatic license suspension and other administrative penalties. 

Contact an Attorney

If you're arrested for DUI/OWI, you need to hire an experienced attorney immediately. Your defense counsel can examine all of your case details, advise you about what to say – and avoid saying – to the law enforcement officers, and strategize a strong defense to fight your drunk driving charges. 

Post-Arrest Considerations

In 2022, according to statistics from the Michigan Annual Drunk Driving Audit, there were 26,707 total drunk driving arrests statewide. Being arrested and charged with DUI/OWI in Michigan can be difficult and overwhelming. Some potential penalties and legal consequences of a DUI arrest or conviction include: 

  • Substantial fines and court fees 

  • Lengthy imprisonment in county jail or state prison. 

  • Driver's license suspension or revocation 

  • Community service 

  • Probation 

  • Ignition interlock device (IID) restrictions 

  • A criminal record/history 

  • Increased auto insurance premiums 

  • Loss of scholarships or university acceptance. 

  • Increased difficulty in getting government benefits. 

  • Deterioration of personal and professional relationships. 

  • Increased difficulty in securing employment or housing. 

  • Ineligibility to obtain certain financial loans. 

  • Loss of your rights to carry, possess, or own firearms. 

An experienced Michigan DUI/OWI defense attorney can step in quickly and take preemptive actions to fight your charges and help mitigate the devastating ramifications of a DUI conviction. 

Don't Risk Your Future.

Understanding your rights and options after a drunk driving stop or DUI arrest is imperative to manage your case diligently. At Daniel J. Larin, P.C., we're dedicated to protecting individuals who have been arrested for drunk driving from the worst possible scenario. 

Our attorney can investigate your case details and outline an effective defense strategy to help fight your drunk driving allegations. In addition, we will dispute the accusations against you with factual evidence, attempt to uphold your driving privileges, or help you seek an alternative sentencing. 

Contact us at Daniel J. Larin, P.C., today to schedule a simple case evaluation with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. Our skilled lawyer can guide you through the Michigan criminal justice system and represent you aggressively in your case. We're proud to represent clients across Birmingham, Rochester Hills, and Oakland County, Michigan.