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DUI–The Blue Light Special You Don’t Want

11 August 2010

I am often asked the question, “What do I do when I am pulled over?” Of course you stop! Immediately turn on your turn signal or flashers and pull over in a legal parking spot, if possible. That way if you are arrested the police will not have to tow your car costing you another fee. That is the easiest question to answer.

In Kentucky, K.R.S.189A.010 and the rest of the driving under the influence (DUI) laws take up 15 pages in the statute books, so any advice without knowing  all the facts and the absolute truth from someone may harm the individual asking. The purpose of this article is to give you some information on the policies followed by police in the Northern Kentucky area and tips that may help you in the future if the need ever arises.  Specific answers to your questions about your situation can only be answered by an informed attorney.

You have the right to an attorney at all critical stages of your case except on the street. You may consult with an attorney before you blow in the breathalyzer, if you have their number and don’t mind waking them up late at night, the usual time for a DUI stop. You also have the right to remain silent, but since a recent Supreme Court Case, you have to speak up and say “I wish to remain silent.”  You must still produce your license, registration and proof of insurance. If you refuse to talk you will also be refusing to do the field tests, therefore you are likely to be arrested and taken to the police station and offered the opportunity to take the breath test. I have never had a client exercise their right to remain silent, it’s not practical to do so in the field, only sometimes in court.

Some tips for those who have taken a drink and then choose to drive.  Know that you are taking a chance that may result in jail, loss of license, thousands in fines, attorney fees and costs. You may loose your job, family, car insurance and more. That is how the law is structured; it is supposed to severely punish offenders. If you still  choose to drive after drinking, be smart, look at your car, see if any lights are out. Do you have up to date proof of insurance? registration? license? Put the registration and proof of insurance together in your glove-box, fumbling around looking for them is a sign of intoxication. Don’t try to drive late at night, police are aware that as much as 25% of the people on the road after midnight have been drinking, extra police are patrolling the streets at that time, observing traffic, looking for drivers who weave, drive too fast or slow, have expired auto tags, fail to dim their lights, follow too closely, almost anything to justify a traffic stop. If you find that your driving is impaired pull over in a legal parking area and call a loved one to take you home, don’t take the risk with your life and the life of others.  Our next post will cover issues that arise after a stop.

For information on how the body processes alcohol, see: How the Body Metabolizes Alcohol

Criminal Defense