Drinking and driving is NOT illegal; driving while impaired is. It is almost unavoidable to occasionally have a drink in a social setting and drive home afterwards. Understand, however, that driving while impaired is dangerous and may cause you to lose your license, your job, and your reputation.
DO NOT ADMIT TO ANYTHING
When you are stopped by the police, often times they will ask you if you have been drinking. Almost everyone tells the officer they have had two drinks. While it is never advisable to outright lie to the police, be careful what you admit to! If you tell the police that you had two drinks, you just admitted to drinking before driving. Try to avoid answering questions such as this if a police officer asks you. Instead, try to change the subject or simply do not answer. You do not have to answer the police! Remember, all you are doing when you tell the officer how much alcohol you have consumed before driving is helping the officer build his case against you. If you really have only had one or two drinks, however, and know you aren't impaired, it is probably advisable to answer the officer.
DO NOT TAKE ANY STANDARDIZED FIELD SOBRIETY TESTS (SFSTs)
Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) are tests which help an officer determine whether a driver is impaired. These tests do not help you! An officer would not waste his time in administering the tests to you if he did not believe that he could get a potential DWI arrest out of it. When you submit to these tests, unless you really are absolutely sober, all you're doing is providing the police with evidence to use against you in court. Be weary before you submit to any SFSTs, you do not have to submit to them!
REQUEST A PRE-ARREST TEST
In North Carolina, if you are stopped by the police, you have the right to request a police officer take you to submit to a breath test before you are placed under arrest. This is beneficial because if the officer violates your right to take the pre-arrest test, or doesn't follow procedures concerning the pre-arrest test, you may be able to have your DWI charges dropped. Once you request a pre-arrest test, the police officer is supposed to stop what he is doing and transport you (un-arrested, not in handcuffs) to the nearest breath testing facility. There you will have the option to take a pre-arrest breath test before you are placed under arrest. Realistically, because it is so rarely exercised, very few police officers are familiar with the procedures concerning this right and are more likely to violate your rights.
This should be the most obvious piece of advice: if you are too intoxicated to drive, do not drive! If you have any questions as to your sobriety, play it safe and get a ride home with a friend or take a cab. Your life, other people's lives, your liberty, your property, your money, and your privilege to drive is not worth the risk! Be careful, be smart, and make good decisions.
Contact Adkins Law to schedule a free DWI consultation with an DWI lawyer, DUI lawyer, DWI attorney, DUI attorney. Adkins Law is located in Huntersville, North Carolina and primarily serves Huntersville, Cornelius, Davidson, Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, Iredell County, Gaston County, Cabarrus County, and the Lake Norman area.