First, ease your vehicle over to a safe location as soon as is reasonably possible.
- Do not jerk the steering wheel or brake suddenly.
When the officer approaches your vehicle; BE POLITE. Remember, they are just doing their job.
For those being stopped and investigated for violation of North Carolina’s Driving While Intoxicated law , the process is very unnerving and intense. Though Police Officers often times are nice and polite about their handling of your investigation, their approach to certain processes they want you to complete to confirm whether you are, in fact, intoxicated are unduly persuasive and suggestive. In fact, certain statements made by the Police are intended to give the impression to the Driver that they are obligated to perform these tests and procedures when in fact, they are not.
Obviously, if an officer attempts to pull you over, you are obligated to comply with the stop. The best thing you can do is slowly and gently pull off to the side of the road, or onto an adjoining road, at the nearest location you can do so safely. If it is a NC DWI Checkpoint or NC License Checkpoint, you will need to proceed with the stop.
Once stopped, if the officer asks for your driver’s license and/or registration, you are required to comply. These pieces of information are required to drive on North Carolina roads and therefore must be produced when asked for by an officer.
If the officer asks you other questions, normally dealing with where you have come from, where you are headed, or how much you have had to drink, you are NOT OBLIGATED to answer these questions. In fact, the admission of having consumed alcohol recently will almost always result in further investigation into whether you are Driving While Intoxicated. That’s not to say if you don’t answer they can’t investigate, only that it gives them more reason to do so.
It is in your best interest to politely and respectfully decline to answer these questions if you have been drinking. DO NOT LIE! If you are ultimately proven to have consumed alcohol, a lie about it could be used against you. DO NOT BE RUDE! Remember that regardless of your circumstances, the officer is only performing their job; it is not personal. A good option would be to answer along the lines of “I respectfully decline to answer your questions.” This is where a good Raleigh DWI Attorney or Raleigh DWI Lawyer can assist you in your case.
The reality is, the Police Officer is permitted to temporarily detain you to investigate potential criminal activity (as something as small as a license plate light can warrant a stop and temporary detainment). Additionally, they are permitted to ask you to leave the vehicle for their safety. Lastly, they are permitted to perform a frisk of the outer clothing of individuals they have ‘reason to believe are armed.’ However, beyond these three things, the Driver is not obligated to assist the Police Officer in their investigation.
I’m certain some people may ask, why not assist them and make their job easier. And while I’ll agree they have a very difficult job, there is no reason to make their job of convicting you of a crime any easier then is necessary.
Additionally, the officer may ask you to perform Pre-exit Tests. These tests are ones you do while seated in your vehicle and are designed to provide the officer evidence of any impairment. Examples are being asked to recite the alphabet, to count, or perform a finger dexterity test. Again, you are NOT OBLIGATED to perform these tests. It is a good policy to respectfully decline to perform these tests if you have been drinking.