For over thirty years attorneys at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC have been providing advice to clients when it comes to DUI cases in the Jackson metropolitan area and all over the state of Mississippi. When you hire an attorney at this firm, you receive help with everything involved with your case AFTER you are arrested. Many times current clients ask us, “What should I have done when the officer pulled me over that night?” This article is written to address a few of those concerns. If you or someone you know is stopped and investigated for a possible DUI charge, keep the following advice in mind for DUI “Do’s & Don’ts”
5 Mississippi DUI Do’s
1. Do…use a designated driver – someone who is not going to consume any alcohol whatsoever while you are out. Our office represents far too many people who were asked to be the “DD” simply because they had “less to drink than everyone else.” This is never a good idea.
2. Do…remain calm with the officer, and cooperate when given an order by the officer.
As soon as you are pulled over, remember to remain calm with the officer. If you are “freaking out”, I guarantee you the officer will testify at trial that you were being belligerent. Go ahead and have your license and proof of insurance ready to give to the officer. You are not required to answer any questions, but you are required to command any order given by the officer. If the officer orders you to get out of the car, do exactly that. On the side of the road is not the place to argue with the officer.
3. Do…realize that everything you say or do will later be written in a report by the officer, and there is a high likelihood that you are being videotaped and audiotaped. Do not do something or say something that will most certainly help in convicting yourself. This includes using inappropriate language with the officer. We have never met a client who has used colorful language with an officer and the situation end well for the client.
4. Do…understand the difference between the portable breath test (PBT) and the Intoxilyzer 8000.
The PBT is only used for the purpose of determining of whether you have any alcohol on your breath. A positive reading on that test will more than likely result in the officer asking you to submit to field sobriety tests (more on these later). The results of the PBT are horribly inaccurate – so much so that courts do not allow the results in a trial.
The Intoxilyzer 8000 is the official breath test machine for the state of Mississippi. Courts rely heavily on the results of this test to determine a suspect’s breath alcohol content. Refusing this test when offered by an officer can result in a 90 day suspension of license.
5. Do…write down every detail about the incident after you are released from custody. Writing down everything you can remember from the time of the encounter with law enforcement will help in preparing your defense. Where you were before you decided to drive, what alcohol and food you actually consumed that day, etc.
5 Mississippi DUI Don’ts
1. Don’t take the portable breath test. This test is only administered to determine if you have alcohol on your breath and can only incriminate you. If you “pass” this test, you can still be arrested.
2. Don’t consent to field sobriety tests. Studies have shown officers have failed “suspects” who have ingested zero alcohol. These tests are purely subjective, and no matter how well you think you performed, I can guarantee you what the officer’s testimony will be about your test results. Officers are looking for specific clues, and these officers aren’t sharing with the individuals being tested just what they are looking for exactly. Don’t take these tests. You will likely be arrested, but taking these tests will do you very little good, if any.
3. Don’t attempt to talk your way out of the situation, and please for the love of all things holy, do NOT argue with the officer. The entire situation is likely being filmed, and the more you talk, the higher the chances you will talk yourself right into a conviction. If you argue with the officer, your demeanor will be characterized as “combative” and “uncooperative” when the officer testifies. This does not help your defense in any way and makes you 100% memorable to the officer when your court date comes.
4. Don’t go to court alone. You may have talked to friends and family who have given unsolicited, unprofessional, and unethical advice about whether you “need an attorney” or not. You should probably take a non-attorney’s advice with a grain of salt, which is to say you should not take it at all. I am amazed at the number of people who tell us the arresting officer gives them advice on whether they should hire an attorney or not. See a conflict here? We handle DUI cases every week. You should hire an experienced and well qualified DUI attorney to defend your case and protect your driving privileges.
5. Don’t let your attorney do all the work. Taking an active role in your defense is always helpful. Developing an honest relationship with your attorney will help everyone as we prepare your case for trial.
If you want someone who will do everything they can to protect your driving privileges and act immediately on your behalf, contact me today. I have represented clients all across the state of Mississippi. I can help you have a better understanding of your current situation with just a simple phone call.
Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.