Like all successful teams, cops have a playbook that helps them to arrest as many people as possible for DWI. You should know their playbook, if you want to avoid getting arrested. The vast majority of DWI’s follow this playbook. To avoid being arrested, you need to avoid playing along.
Patrol the main highways around 2:00 AM on Friday and Saturday nights.
The cops know that the bars stop serving alcohol at 2:00 AM and that’s when people start leaving. They also know that most of the people leaving have had something to drink. This is when they are out, in force, looking for intoxicated drivers.
Pull Over Drivers for Traffic Violation
Look for people breaking any traffic laws. The cops don’t only look for people that are driving unusually. Most people that get arrested for DWI are pulled over for speeding, not using a blinker, or some other traffic violation.
Look for Signs that the Driver has Been Drinking
When an officer pulls you over for a traffic violation, they can only keep you long enough to investigate you for that violation. If they want to detain you long enough to have you perform field sobriety test, they need some indication that you have been drinking. They will see if you have the smell of alcohol on their breath, bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, or do you take too long looking for your drivers license. Even if none of these are present, they’ll ask you where you are coming from and if you’ve had anything to drink tonight. Any clue or admission that you have drank alcohol opens the door to detain you long enough to investigate you for DWI.
Tell the Driver That the Officer Just Needs to Make Sure the Driver is OK to Drive
You do not have to perform field sobriety tests, and you should not. An officer will make it seem like you have to prove to them that you’re ok to drive and will make it seem like they have not already made up their mind on arresting you. The tests are not very reliable when done right, and they are frequently not done right. An officer can presume that you are refusing to do the tests, because you think that you would fail them, but in my experience no test is much better than a bad test. I’ve had several clients arrested for DWI after performing the field sobriety tests, only to have a blood or breath test show that they did not have any alcohol or drugs in their system.
Arrest for DWI Based on The Totality of the Circumstances
After the test, it’s time to make the arrest. The officer has a lawful stop, he has driving that indicates you may be intoxicated (clearly a person would not speed if they weren’t intoxicated), he has an admission from you of drinking alcohol, he has an admission that you were coming from a bar, he has enough clues on the field sobriety test (there are always enough clues, if he look hard enough), so now he can arrest you for DWI.
The officer’s playbook has a lot of steps, but they have a lot of practice with it. Lucky for you, your playbook is much easier. No matter how much you’ve had to drink, whether it’s zero alcohol or a few beers, your playbook is the same.
1. If you are ever stopped and an officer asks if you have had anything to drink, tell him, “I want to speak with an attorney and I’m remaining silent.” And then remain silent. If you haven’t already, give him your drivers license when prompted, but do NOT perform any tests. If he asks you to follow anything with your eyes (the first test) just look at your feet and remain silent.
2. If you’re pulled over around 2:00 on a Friday or Saturday night, as soon as the officer approaches your window, tell him, “I want to speak with an attorney and I’m remaining silent.” And then remain silent. Give him your drivers license when prompted, but do NOT perform any tests. If he asks you to follow anything with your eyes (the first test) just look at your feet and remain silent.
You must play defense. The officer is trying to make an arrest and you are trying to prevent him from being able to do that. If they don’t have probable cause to arrest you, you get to go home. You do not have to prove that you are ok to drive, they must prove that you are not ok to drive if they want to arrest you. If they do arrest you, the government will have less to use against you and you’ll have a better chance of getting your case dismissed or winning at trial.
If you were arrested for DWI in San Antonio, you need an attorney who knows the other side’s playbook. I help people avoid the long term consequences of DWI charges. Click the link below to set up a free consultation or call me at 210-900-2806.