3 Immediate Steps to Take if You’re Pulled Over for DWI After a Holiday Party

In Houston, drinking and a holiday party go together like peas and carrots. If you’re going to attend an annual holiday party and know you’re going to drink, take a cab or ride-share both to and from the event. Or appoint a designated driver who will not drink to keep everyone else safe.

Know that it is illegal to drink AND drive, but it’s not illegal to drink THEN drive. So, if you attended a get-together and drank responsibly but were pulled over on your way home, make sure you do the right thing to help protect your future and freedom.

Use this guide to get started.

1. Be Polite Through and Through

A police officer’s job is to keep the streets safe for everyone. Their intentions are good, but they can be misguided. When an officer pulls you over and then approaches your window, greet them politely. Remember, the audio and video of the conversation are being recorded. If you speak out of turn or misbehave, it could work against you if you are charged and the video is used as evidence.

Be polite through and through. Address the officer properly—“sir” or “ma’am”—and avoid becoming combative with them at any point. If you feel that you were unjustly pulled over, do not argue with the officer on the roadside. That’s what court is for.

2. Watch What You Say and Do

Once you provide your name, driver’s license, and other documents (registration, car insurance information, etc.), you may be asked a range of questions that, if you answer, could either incriminate you or provide the officer with probable cause to search you and your vehicle. For instance, the officer may ask you where you were and what you were doing earlier.

You do not have to answer any questions and can politely refuse. Answer basic questions regarding your identity but avoid providing any information about the party you’re going to or coming from or whether you’ve had anything to drink, let alone how many you’ve had. This is the time to exercise your right to remain silent.

Even though you don’t say anything, the officer may ask you to step out of your vehicle and then administer a series of field sobriety tests. You have the right to refuse them since they are designed to make you look foolish in the video. The officer is gathering evidence to support their opinion that you are intoxicated. You can also refuse to take a breathalyzer test, since they are deemed unreliable in determining whether someone is intoxicated.

3. Call a Lawyer

The holidays are a stressful time for a lot of people. It’s possible that the officer is in a rush and you’re feeling anxious yourself. Don’t let the pressure get to you. Stay calm and stay silent, but if you’re wrongly arrested, call a lawyer immediately.

As you make the call, remember your rights. You can refuse field sobriety tests, blood tests, and breathalyzer tests, unless the officer has a warrant signed by a judge to allow them to take your blood—forcibly, if necessary.

After you’re arrested, post bail and call an attorney who’ll guide you through the next steps. Listen to them carefully and patiently, follow their advice, and let them handle the rest.

Are you looking for an experienced, qualified, and detail-oriented DWI lawyer? Attorney JL Carpenter is recognized for her stellar track record.

She can build a strong, aggressive case for clients arrested for DWI across the Greater Houston area, including in Friendswood, Clear Lake, League City, Webster, and Galveston, among other areas. J.L. also works on various other cases, including domestic violence, drug possession, and family violence.

Take a look at the rest of her practice areas. Once you’re ready, give her a call to get started.