You have some drinks either at a bar or out with friends, maybe over dinner, and then you get in your car to drive. Is this the responsible decision? Definitely not. Whether you’ve had one drink or five, you’re never in a good situation when you see the police officer pull up behind you on the road and turn on the siren and lights.
The police officer approaches your vehicle, asks you where you’re going and whether you’ve been drinking tonight. You tell the truth that you’ve had a drink or some drinks, depending on what the truth actually is. The police officer then asks you to step out of the car. He or she starts to perform a field sobriety test and then asks you to take a breathalyzer test. You refuse to take the breathalyzer test believing you’re making the right decision. However, the police officer informs you that it’s a “No Refusal” Weekend and you must consent to a breathalyzer or the police officer will get a warrant for a blood draw.
You can take the breathalyzer or you can wait for the warrant for your blood draw, where the police will be able to determine exactly how much alcohol is in your system. What are your options?
It’s never a smart idea to drink and drive. As lawyers who work with DWI clients on a regular basis, we advise all our clients the best decision is to never put yourself in that situation in the first place. Drinking and driving is dangerous and can result in death. However, if you find yourself in the situation where you have been drinking and the police inform you that it’s a “No Refusal” weekend, you do still have options.
First, you have the right to remain silent. Don’t incriminate yourself by continuing to converse if you are clearly intoxicated. Don’t admit to anything. Just remain silent.
Second, you have the right to refuse a sobriety test. State that you refuse to take the breathalyzer and you refuse to perform the sobriety test. The police officer may warn you that this means he or she has to get a warrant and will perform a blood draw. Let the police officer go take the time to get the warrant. You have the right to protect yourself and your body from unreasonable search and seizure.
Third, ask for your lawyer to be present during any questioning. Don’t let the police take advantage of your current situation by asking you questions without your lawyer being present. Lawyers are trained to protect their clients from incriminating themselves.
Finally, the best course of action is always to avoid drinking and driving. When you go out with your friends, designate someone as the driver and be sure that person stays alcohol-free. If something comes up and your designated driver is no longer able to fulfill his or her obligations, then get a cab. Taxis may seem expensive, but DWI charges are a lot more expensive. Be safe and be smart.
If a loved one or you have been recently charged with a DWI, contact our office. It’s not too late to protect yourself once you’ve been charged of a DWI. An experienced and knowledgeable DWI attorney can be your advocate and your voice. Contact us.