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Know your rights during a drunk driving traffic stop

When you are pulled over for suspected drunk driving, you need to ensure that you aren't doing anything that is going to work against you. Making sure that you are keeping your rights protected is one of the most important ways you can do this.

The first thing to know is that the officer will need reasonable suspicion to pull you over. This can come from you exhibiting behavior that suggests you might be intoxicated, but it can also mean that the officer observed something illegal about your vehicle, such as a burned-out tail light.

If possible, you should always stop on the right side of the road when you see a police cruiser with flashing lights. When you stop, roll down your window and place your hands on the steering wheel. This is when it will get a bit tricky. The officer will likely try to chat with you to find out what is going on. You only have to provide your driver's license, proof of insurance and vehicle registration. You aren't required to answer any questions, so think carefully before you say anything.

Always remember to remain respectful to the officer. Being belligerent will work against you. Remain calm, but don't get too chatty. Sticking to the basics is a good idea. Additionally, remember that you don't have to take the standardized field sobriety test. Declining that test doesn't come with penalties. This isn't the case for a chemical test. If you are asked to take a chemical test, you have the right to refuse, but this comes with penalties due to informed consent laws.

Remembering your rights can be difficult in these circumstances so do your best. If you are arrested for DUI, you still have rights.

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