Driving after you have had a drink is not necessarily a criminal offense. Although it is best not to drink anything before driving, the law does not explicitly prohibit it for most people. Driving after imbibing a sufficient amount of alcohol to render you incapable of safe driving or to raise your blood alcohol level above the legal limit IS a problem.
Even if you are sure you are under the legal limit, being stopped by the police can be frightening. Your conduct during the stop is important and getting it wrong can make it more likely that this encounter will end poorly.
Here are two things you need to do if the police signal you to stop while you are driving a vehicle:
Pull over to a safe spot
It is important that you slow down and pull over at a safe spot. If you cannot pull over safely, slowly drive to a location where you can do so. If you are concerned that the person stopping you is not a police officer, call 911 and report your location and what is happening. Do not try to outrun the police. This will end badly and may even prevent your attorney from raising certain legal arguments that may have otherwise prevented you from being convicted in the first place.
If you are pulled over, lower your car window and remain in the vehicle. Keep both hands on your steering wheel as the approaches and listen to their instructions. Do not step out of the car or attempt to reach for anything (your ID or driver’s license) unless you are asked to do so. Even if the officer appears agitated with you, your ability to remain calm will help keep the situation under control. Do not do or say anything that suggests that you are a threat to the officer’s safety. If there is a legal issue with the stop (or with the case in the event charges are filed), the controlled atmosphere of the courtroom, and not the location of the traffic stop, is the place to settle the issue.
Protecting your rights
Learn more about your rights and interests during and after a vehicle stop.