When you’re pulled over under suspicion of driving under the influence, every move you make is very important. Doing or saying the wrong thing during this time can and will get you into more trouble so it’s important that you act accordingly. From the moment you see the flashing lights behind you, every action is being monitored and evaluated as any misstep can be the final nail in the coffin for a DUI conviction. If you’ve been pulled over, here are a few recommended steps for you to take.

Don’t Panic

Panic during this time will cloud your judgement and increase the likelihood of doing something that will harm your chances in the courtroom. Pull over quickly and safely, put your fourways on and turn the engine off. Your hand should be at 10 and 2 on the wheel and you should have your information ready. During this time it’s important that you remain courteous and polite to the officer as anything you say will be used against you.

That being said, it’s important that you don’t answer any questions that might lead towards self incrimination. You’ll have to tread carefully here, officers are trained to phrase questions that might seem friendly or innocuous but can quickly lead to you hurting your chances in court. You have the right to remain silent and it’s suggested that you employ it.

Do Not Take the Field Sobriety Test

What most people don’t realize is that you have a right to participate in the standardized field sobriety tests and it’s important that you use them. The problem with the FSTs is that they are highly subjective and many officers will misinterpret the results even with the proper training.

There are a number of different factors that can affect the outcome of your tests, environmental, biological and physical distractions can all lead towards you failing these tests which will in turn hurt your chances in court.

Conversely, you might be required to take a breathalyzer test. While you do have the option to refuse it, it’s important to know that it will come with added administrative penalties from the MVA or DOT. These penalties often include additional fines and a lengthier suspension period of your driving privileges which are in addition to any punitive action for a DUI conviction.

Do Hire an Attorney

The most important step you can take during this process is to hire an attorney, especially if you’ve been arrested and charged with driving under the influence. Hiring an experienced DUI defense attorney, one who understands the science behind breath and blood alcohol testing, as well as state and federal DUI laws will give you the best chance of being successful in court.

There are a number of different defenses that can be employed for your case, however the only way these defenses are both available and viable is through the help of a skilled attorney. It’s important to remember, a DUI charge is a very serious matter and a DUI conviction can and will affect you for the rest of your life. Protect yourself, your livelihood, and your future and hire a DUI defense attorney as soon as possible.

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+Andrew is one of the leading DUI and criminal defense attorneys in both the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia. He blogs about Maryland DUI law, has numerous videos on the subject and has been asked to appear on national television to offer his legal opinion on high-profile criminal cases.