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What should I do if police pull me over after a night out?

Summer and increasing COVID-19 vaccination rates mean that people are ready to get back to some semblance of normalcy. For many, normalcy involves going out to restaurants, bars and parties with friends.

As such, now can be an excellent time to remind Coloradoans about what to do if police pull them over for suspected drunk driving after a night out.

Stay calm and compliant

You may be mad, scared or confused when you see the red and blue lights flashing in your rearview. But try not to panic. Instead, stay calm, pull over as soon as it is safe to do so and wait for the officer. And keep in mind that at this point, the police officer is looking for any reason to arrest you for drunk driving.

Thus, if you speed up, swerve out of your lane or do something else erratic or unpredictable, it could give police evidence that you are impaired.

Know your rights during the stop

When police officers approach drivers they suspect of drunk driving, they are looking for more than your license and registration. They are smelling for alcohol, looking for disheveled clothing, listening for slurred speech and taking note of red glassy eyes.

Thus, keeping your interaction brief is crucial.

You must provide your driver’s license and proof of registration if the officer asks. Beyond that, you do not need to answer questions like where you are going or whether you were drinking. Instead, politely assert your right to stay silent. You can also refuse to take any voluntary roadside breath or sobriety tests.

Further, know that with few exceptions, police cannot search your vehicle without a warrant or your consent. You do not need to let police search your car, even if you think you have nothing to hide.

After an arrest

If the police do arrest you, you will need to take breath or blood tests or face serious consequences. So do not resist the officer, and pay close attention to what police are doing and saying.

Ask to speak with a lawyer right away. At this point, you can discuss defenses to DUI and how to avoid conviction.

Getting pulled over by police can be frightening; knowing your rights can help you feel more confident and avoid making regrettable errors in these situations.

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