As a driver, you may not realize it but the way you behave when you come into contact with the police matters – a lot. For example, if you notice police lights flashing behind you, the last thing you want to do is press your foot on the accelerator and try to outrun the cops.
If you try to evade a police officer who has ordered you to stop your vehicle, you could be charged with violating Section 316.1935 of the Florida Statutes for fleeing or attempting to elude law enforcement – typically a felony of the third degree.
So, if you are ever pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) in Miami-Dade County, here is some advice on how to conduct yourself during a routine DUI stop:
Before you pull over.
Once you realize that an officer wants to stop you, pull over to a safe spot immediately. When you do this, be sure to use your turn signal and don’t make any sudden or erratic movements with your vehicle. Be sure to pull over far enough that the officer won’t be clipped by other vehicles driving by.
After you pull over.
After you pull over, shut off your engine so the officer doesn’t perceive you as a flight risk. If it’s dark out, turn on the lights inside the vehicle. Don’t go rummaging for your license and registration. Instead, wait for the officer to ask you for them. If you go through the glove compartment, reach into your jacket, or reach under your seat, the officer may think you’re grabbing a weapon.
Many officers have been attacked or killed when approaching stopped vehicles and all officers know that. For law enforcement, one of the most dangerous times is when they approach vehicles during traffic stops, so you want to show the officer that you’re not a threat.
It’s best to keep your hands on the steering wheel until the officer asks for your license and registration. This way, you put the officer at ease right off the bat.
When you speak to the officer.
Do not get out of your vehicle unless the officer asks you to. When the officer speaks to you, be polite and respectful. Even if the officer seems to be in a bad mood, you don’t want to aggravate the officer more by antagonizing them. You may have to swallow your pride, but it’s a whole lot better than angering an officer and winding up in the back of his patrol car.
When you’re pulled over for a drug or alcohol-related DUI, it’s in your best interests to remain calm and polite. If you are rude or belligerent, it can be captured on the officer’s body camera or a dash cam and it can be used as powerful evidence to nail you in court.
Facing DUI charges in Miami? Contact my firm to work with a former prosecutor with over 30 years of experience!