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If you have been drinking and police want you to pull over

Perhaps this has happened to you before. You have been at a bar or at a friend’s house and enjoyed a few beers. You felt fine to drive, so you hit the road. However, halfway through the drive, the sight of police sirens in your rearview mirror gave you a start. Fortunately, the sirens have always passed you.

But what if they do not pass one day? What if your brake lights are out or you have been weaving as you drive? Here are a few tips on how to handle the situation if there is an insistent police car behind you.

Take deep breaths

Panic. A racing heart. Adrenaline. Your body is likely reacting in many physical ways to the appearance of police, so taking deep breaths helps calm yourself. This is a time when you need to think as clearly and competently as possible, so try to ground yourself. Your life is not over.

If you have alcohol in the car, it is a bad idea to try to throw it out. Police will notice you have thrown something, and it is possible you could get more serious charges. Do not drink the alcohol to “get rid of the evidence” either.

Slow down and pull over

It is important to not avoid speeding up or trying to escape the police. Instead, slow down as soon as it is safe, and pull over on a wide shoulder or in a parking lot. If it is nighttime, opt for a well-lit and public spot if one is nearby. This helps to protect yourself against possible police injustices.

It is fine to roll down your windows and to air out the car. Have your driver’s license and registration ready for when the police officer gets to the car so that you do not have to reach into a glove compartment or pocket where a weapon might be. Also stay silent, and decline to answer questions.

Any time law enforcement pulls you over is scary, but it can be especially so if you have been drinking, no matter how little or how much. An attorney can help protect your rights if you face a DUI charge.


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Travis Noble is a graduate of the National College for DUI Defense at Harvard University, and he lectures at seminars nationwide on DWI/DUI topics. He is the lawyer whom other lawyers consult to defend their DWI clients. Most importantly, he has a track record of successfully defending some of the toughest DWI cases in Missouri and beyond.

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