Busted for DUI? Should you cooperate?
There has long been an idea encircling run-ins with law enforcement – that is, in the event of a potential arrest for a DUI or any other offense, you shouldn’t cooperate or talk to the police. The truth is that it’s more complicated than a simple “yes” or “no.”
If you have an encounter with the law and you really didn’t do anything, why would you not speak with them or be cooperative? Unless you are a law student or trying to make a viral video entitled “How to Get a Mad and Waste Your Own Time.” Chances are you can successfully explain the situation and provide exculpatory evidence that absolves you of the inquiries the police were making, after which you can continue on with your life without further contact with or pursuit from law enforcement. Isn’t this the way it’s supposed to work?
Suppose you got pulled over on a suspected DUI. If you are not intoxicated or have not been drinking and you follow the “don’t blow, don’t cooperate” advice, you may actually be looking at having your license suspended – just so you can prove a point. If, however, you did perform the breath test when you haven’t been drinking, law enforcement will likely stop pursuing the DUI; there would be no need to even contact a criminal defense attorney because the issue would have been resolved.
But then there is the other side of the coin. The guilty side. The presupposition of “don’t talk to the police” presumes that you are, in fact guilty. If you look into your heart of hearts, and determine that you have done something wrong, then yes, it is advisable for you to not divulge information to law enforcement. It is at that point that you should request your right to an attorney – but know with the action of “lawyering up” you may very well find yourself getting arrested, subject to an investigation, and a target in the criminal justice system.
In all, the standard, “don’t talk to the police” is not a good, blanket over-all approach. A person needs to be more revealing and honest with him/herself about the situation to really make that determination. Is it something that could be cleared up fairly easily or is it something that is going to require legal counsel to find the best possible resolution?
And just so that you know, the field sobriety test doesn’t look anything like this: