Getting pulled over by law enforcement can be a nerve-wracking experience. It is easy to make mistakes when trying to deal with the unexpected.
Here are some basic suggestions on what to do during a Tennessee DUI stop which can help your defense later on if you end up getting arrested. It is important, however, to know that there is no particular magic trick to help you avoid arrest. All you can do is optimize your chances and consult an experienced attorney as soon as you can.
Maintain a good attitude
Remain polite and non-confrontational. Follow the officers' instructions and avoid making sudden movements or the appearance of reaching for a weapon. Officers do have the right to see your license and proof of insurance, so you should hand those over promptly. Tennessee's implied consent law also obligates you to undergo a breath test. If you refuse, you could lose your license for up to a year, even if the DUI charge is dismissed.
Protect your rights
However, politeness and cooperation do not mean ceding your legal rights. You do not have to answer questions, including common inquiries about where you came from and whether you had anything to drink. Resist the temptation to talk your way out of the situation. You are much more likely to unwittingly provide additional ammunition against yourself.
Likewise, you do not have to consent to a warrantless search of your vehicle. If police officers proceed to search over your refusal, do not become confrontational, as that will not help. Your lawyer can try to suppress improperly obtained evidence.
Get legal help
If you are arrested, speak with an attorney as soon as possible. A DUI conviction can have serious repercussions. You may have better grounds to fight your case than you know. Even failing a breath test does not have to mean conviction, as there are several reasons for test failure that do not involve intoxication.