What Doesn’t Work: You see the lights flash and hear the siren. As the source of the lights dawns on you, you pull over, trying to get yourself together. And why are those lights so bright? A knock on the window, an unsteady exit from the car, and you hear yourself speaking some angry words to the police. When they ask you to take the field sobriety test, you cannot see the line, let alone walk it. The rest, as they say, is history: a DUI charge and conviction.
What Does Work: You see the flashing lights and hear the sirens but you know what to do. You signal, pull safely over, roll down your window and get some fresh air before the police officer arrives. You are polite, answer questions and then remain silent. You provide identification and registration. You do not take the field sobriety test. Law enforcement must have reason to pull you over — do not give them reason to arrest you.
Although you cannot decline a breath alcohol test, you can decline field sobriety testing. With luck, the police will take a pass. If not, you need to call a good DUI attorney immediately after your arrest. Remember that you have rights including the right to seek legal counsel.
Bear in mind that 75 percent of DUI cases in Utah result in a verdict or a guilty plea. DUI charges are serious — and can have a serious impact on your future. An experienced attorney can help you avoid penalties such as license suspension or revocation, vehicle confiscation, installation of an ignition interlock device and jail time — up to five years for a third offense. But you can help yourself even more by being careful to avoid DUI charges in the first place.