8 Steps to Take When Pulled Over for a Seattle DUI and You Have Been Drinking

Getting pulled over on suspicion of DUI can be scary, regardless of how much you’ve had to drink. Even if you have only had a drink or two, you face the very likely possibility of being arrested for a DUI. As an experienced Seattle DUI attorney, there are many things I recommend that you do for your own protection when pulled over for a DUI.


1. Provide your license and vehicle information to the police officer

When pulled over for a DUI in Seattle, one of the first things the officer will ask is for your vehicle information — driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance. It is very important that you provide these items right away.

2. Be polite

Bad behavior is often a sign of intoxication and officers are trained to watch for this. It has also been found that prosecutors are less likely to negotiate in cases where the defendant was rude or aggressive towards the officer. You will only make matters worse if you become argumentative. When pulled over, it’s prudent to be polite and courteous.

3. Answer “yes” if you have been drinking

Many Seattle DUI attorneys may say to lie when the officer asks if you have been drinking, but this is not advised. If you have been drinking, be honest, say you have had something drink.  Lying about or minimizing the amount of alcohol you have consumed will not help your case.  However, it is important that you don’t answer how much unless you have really only had one drink.  

At this point, one of two things will happen. The officer will either ask you how much you have had to drink or to exit the car to perform the field sobriety tests.


4. Ask to speak with an attorney before answering any questions

Remember, talking your way out of a DUI is rarely successful for offenders, so it is best to refrain from making statements that could harm your case. A professional Seattle DUI attorney can help you know what you should and shouldn’t tell the officer.

If the officer asks how much you have had to drink, politely decline to answer and say you would like to speak with an attorney before answering any questions. In the instance that you have truly only consumed one alcoholic drink, then just be honest. The officer will probably say you’re not under arrest, so you don’t have the right to consult with an attorney. This is true, but make sure you say you would prefer to speak with an attorney before answering any questions.

5. Ask to speak with an attorney before taking the portable breath test

This is another test that should be avoided until you have spoken with a Seattle DUI attorney. A portable breath test or preliminary breath test is a small device that, when blown into, can provide a breath alcohol level reading at the scene of the traffic stop. Again, these tests are voluntary and should be avoided.

According to the State Toxicologist, portable breath tests have been deemed unreliable and can not be used as evidence in a trial. These tests are used only as a means to establish a basis for a DUI arrest.

6. Ask to speak with an attorney before performing any sobriety tests

If the officer asks you to perform any field sobriety tests, say you would like to speak with an attorney before performing these tests. The Standardized Field Sobriety Tests are one of the most common ways for an officer to establish a basis for arresting someone on suspicion of DUI.

Although these tests are voluntary, in my opinion, they are designed for people to fail. Officers are trained to look for specific clues to help make a determination on whether or not they believe you are intoxicated. Factors such as physical limitations, fear of arrest, the location of the test, etc. are not taken into account when these tests are administered. Since these tests are not objective, failing these tests is common even when the test taker is completely sober.

Additionally, under current case law, if you “refuse” or “decline” to take these tests, it can be used against you the same way a “refusal” of the breath test can be used against you.  Because of this, it is very important to request to speak with an attorney and not simply “refuse” or “decline” the tests.  

7. Ask for an attorney immediately after being arrested

If the officer deems it necessary, you will be arrested for DUI at this point. If this does occur, immediately ask for an attorney. It is important to maintain your silence until your attorney arrives or until you speak with one over the phone. Once you get in contact with your attorney, he or she can advise you on whether to answer questions or take any tests.

8. Speak with an attorney before taking a breath test at the police station  

Once you arrive at the police station, you will likely be asked to take a breath test. You have the right to request to speak with an attorney before taking this test as well. Your Seattle DUI attorney will advise you on whether or not you should take the breath test as well as any other options you may have.

If you have been arrested for a DUI in Seattle, having an experienced DUI attorney on your side to help answer any questions is very important. For a free 60 minute, no pressure, and completely confidential case consultation contact Matthew Leyba today at 206.504.3131.