We have all seen the commercials, the traffic signs and the radio commercial: “don’t drink and drive,” “drink, drive, go to jail,” etc. However, life happens and we all make mistakes. Sometimes, those mistakes can lead to drinking and driving, but if one is pulled over at this point, what do they do?
The primary concern for a Springfield, Illinois, driver in this position is mitigation. Do not make the situation worse. This begins the moment the lights come on to the interaction with the police officer, and then all interactions with law enforcement thereafter.
If one is being pulled over, the police officer has already noted some reasonable suspicion that the driver is impaired or has broken some traffic law. Do not assume that the police officer believes the driver is inebriated. This could be a broken taillight, speed or any other minor traffic violation. How the driver interacts with the officer, beginning when the lights come on, can dictate if one gets to sleep in their own bed or on a jail cot. Quickly find a well-lit parking lot or other area off the road, but if one is not around, pull as far over as is safe. Then, turn on the cabin light, roll down the windows, turn off the car and keep hands visible. For example, the driver should keep their hands on the wheel, and no one should be straining to watch the officer approach the vehicle. For police, traffic interactions can be one of the most dangerous parts of their job.
Really, how much one chooses to speak with the Springfield, Illinois, police is based on one’s own personal judgment. Though, keep in mind that the only mandated interaction is the driver’s identification (name and driver’s license), and the vehicle registration and insurance. No one in the vehicle, including the driver, has to answer any other question. In most situations, this is likely the best advice to simply be silent after these mandated interactions. Remember, every interaction with a police officer is an investigation, and the police officer is looking for potential legal infractions.
The key to mitigation is also not creating more problems, even if one expects a DUI. Do not lie to the police or give false identification. Both can be the basis for a crime. Do not admit anything, and remember that anything said during the interaction can be used in court. If asked to take a field sobriety test, since Illinois is an implied consent state, refusal has consequences, but one can usually, ask for a blood test instead of a breathalyzer.