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What to do if you get pulled over after drinking

On Behalf of | Apr 26, 2022 | DUI |

After spending some time at the bar with friends, we have two options. We can either have someone else drive us home, like a friend, taxi, Uber or Lyft. Or, we can drive home ourselves, but even if one does not feel inebriated, the former is a much better options than the later. It is safer for everyone, and it can avoid a DUI charge. But, if one has chosen to drive home, what do they do if they get pulled over?

We choose how we interact, and it matters

How one interacts with the police officer that pulls them over can affect whether they are arrested, ticketed or left off with a warning. This all begins with pulling over safely. Do not slam on the breaks or make jerky motions. Instead, look for a way to quickly and safely pull over, preferably into a parking lot.


Next, showing the police officer respect and courtesy can help one be more likely to get a warning. This means not being sarcastic, saying, “sir” or “ma’am.” It also means making the police officer feel safe. Roll down windows. Turn off the vehicle. And, do not reach for anything. When asked, hand over the identification, registration and insurance.

The conversation

While these actions can help one avoid a ticket, do not be lulled into a false sense of security. Remember, the police officer is looking for any crime, and they will ask questions to illicit answers that may indicate that the driver or passengers have engaged in or are engaged in criminal activity. Be mind of this when interacting and speaking with police.


If one has engaged in, arguably, illegal activity, like drinking and driving, or any other apparent criminal activity, the police officer may already suspect it, just by the driving and the interaction thus far. As such, in these situations, the goal is not to get a warning, but instead, to not make one’s arrest or subsequent court hearing worse. The goal is to mitigate. After giving the required documents and information, one can stop responding. There is not duty to interact with the police officers. If one is not comfortable with the “silent treatment,” then one can feel confident in stating that they are invoking their right to remain silent. That is also okay in Sonoma and Napa Counties.

Blood alcohol concentration testing

In California, drivers are not required to do a field sobriety test and those tests can be used against them in any subsequent legal proceeding. However, if one refuses a breath BAC tests, one can lose their license. It is okay to ask for an attorney or ask for a blood test.