No DWI for Christmas

Christmas parties are in full swing, and so is DWI enforcement.  As always, I recommend not drinking and driving. If, however, you find yourself getting pulled over after “a few,” here are some helpful tips to avoid getting a DWI for Christmas:

Remember that you have no obligation to help the police officer make his monthly quota of arrests.
Try to be polite and courteous to the officer.  Your attitude may be the difference between getting out with a traffic ticket or getting arrested for DWI.  I cannot tell you how many people come to my office, because they could have simply walked away with a citation, but they argued their way into a DWI arrest.  If you have been drinking, hand your paperwork to the officer without comment, and take the ticket with no back talk.
Once the officer asks you to get out the car, it becomes very different ballgame. Still be polite, but remember: You are under no obligation to help the state build a case.  Never admit you are coming from a bar, a party, or that you have been drinking.  It does not help to say you had two drinks. Everyone says that, and the judge just assumes you had a lot more.  Never take a field sobriety test. It rarely helps. Politely refuse any tests, but be aware you are almost certainly getting a trip to the police station, whether you take the tests or not. No one ever passes the field sobriety test.  If the officer takes the time to give you the test, he is going to bring you into the station to cover his bases and “just make sure.”
If you have legitimately had only one or two drinks, blow into the breathalyzer.  There is no benefit to blowing in the machine if you cannot pass it.  You do not have to give a reason for not taking the test, just politely refuse it.  Whether you go to jail or not has more to do with how booked the local jail is, rather than whether or not you cooperated with the officer.
It is possible in Louisiana to pass the breathalyzer test and still get a DWI.  The Louisiana definition of impairment covers both alcohol and drug use.  It does not matter whether you are on a prescription drug or street drug.  Do not share drug use of any kindwith the officer.  It will not help you and will almost certainly give the officer another reason to issue a DWI.

The most important step to take if you are arrested is to hire an attorney ASAP.  There is a limited time to challenge the arrest and save your driver’s license.

Written By: Greg Gouner

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