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Side of the Road DUI Guide

Information on this website is intended for Delaware drivers only!

Ever wish you had a Delaware DUI attorney in the car to help if you get pulled over? Want to know what to expect if pulled over? Ever wonder what your rights are if the police stop you on suspicion of driving while intoxicated? I can’t be with you in your car if you are stopped for DUI, but I can give you info now to help you if you are stopped. Here are my top tips:

NEVER DRIVE INTOXICATED OR IMPAIRED.

  • Call a cab, call a friend, call your mom, tell the bartender you need help getting home. If you go out often, get a high quality portable breathalyzer and keep it in your car. Test yourself to make sure you’re not over the legal limit of .08 BAC before driving. The best way to beat a DUI is not to get one.

NEVER ADMIT DRINKING OR USING DRUGS.

  • Never admit to drinking, even if you have had “only had two beers” Never admit to using drugs. Admitting to drinking or using drugs then driving gives the police a reason to arrest you and charge you with a crime! You have a CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT under the Fifth Amendment to remain silent. Abraham Lincoln said, “It is better to say nothing and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” I say, “It is better to say nothing and feel like a fool than to open your mouth and give the police probable cause to arrest you for DUI”
  • If you had a drink prior to driving, DO NOT LIE and say you didn’t. But if the officer asks if you had anything to drink, you should courteously and respectfully use your CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT by remaining silent. If anything, you might say, “Officer, I’m sorry, but I’m not going to answer questions like that without my attorney present. Am I free to leave?”

DECIDE ahead of time if you’ll take the field sobriety tests and the Intoxilyzer if you are pulled over.

  • Once you are pulled over, the officer will probably ask you to do “field sobriety tests” on the side of the road, such as the horizontal gaze nystagmus or HGN test. This involves watching your eyes as you look from one side to the other. Another test is the one-legged stand. Another is the nine-step walk and turn. Another test is the handheld breathalyzer. The point of all these tests is to develop an air-tight case of probable cause to take you back to the police station and administer the Intoxilyzer. The Intoxilyzer is the machine they use to officially test your breath. The Intoxilyzer test result is used as evidence in your DUI trial.
  • BAD THINGS ABOUT REFUSING THE TESTS: If you refuse these tests, the police officer can take you to the hospital and force you to undergo a blood test to determine if your BAC is over the limit. The blood test is more accurate than the Intoxilyzer. So if you are over the limit, the blood test will be stronger evidence at trial than the Intoxilyzer. If you refuse these tests, your license can be suspended for one year.
  • GOOD THINGS ABOUT REFUSING THE TESTS: In our experience, sometimes they don’t take people for a blood draw. It’s a lot more trouble. With no blood and no breath, there’s really not much evidence to support the State’s criminal case (you’re probably still going to lose your license through DMV). If they do take you for a blood draw, the evidence becomes more complicated for the prosecutor because she may have to bring in the people who drew your blood to testify and they have more important things to do… such as treating patients. Also, the field sobriety tests are set up for you to fail. The officer determines in his own subjective opinion whether you pass or fail. Why would you take a test you are destined to fail?

PAY ATTENTION if you take the breath test.

  • The officer must be close enough to you for at least 20 minutes immediately preceding the test to tell if you belch, burp or vomit.
  • Do not hold your breath (hypo-ventilate) immediately prior to blowing as this will increase your blood alcohol content reading.
  • Inversely, rapidly and deeply breathing in and out (hyper-ventilating) immediately prior to blowing will produce a lower blood alcohol content reading.
  • Notice if there is a camera in the room. If so, ask the officer if it can be turned on as soon as you see it. You want the tape rolling. The police do not!
  • Notice whether or not other appliances are plugged in to the same outlet as the Intoxilyzer 5000 EN breath test machine.

PAY ATTENTION if you’re given a blood test.

  • The phlebotomist must gently invert each test tube of blood at least five times before putting them in and sealing the envelope.
  • The phlebotomist must NOT shake the tubes vigorously or this can cause an elevated reading due to clotting in the sample tubes.
  • Try to notice whether or not the expiration date on the blood test kit has passed.
  • Try to notice how much blood was extracted into each tube.

ALWAYS be respectful towards the officer who has pulled you over.

  • Police officers regularly see the absolute worst our society has to offer – don’t give them a reason to think you fall into that category.
  • Just like you, they have feelings too. So treat them as you would want to be treated.
  • Never get verbally or physically abusive towards a police officer who has pulled you over. If your case goes to trial, do you really want the jury hearing all of the names you called the police officer?