Not many life experiences are as frustrating, scary and confusing as a DUI stop, especially if you are a first-time offender. A DUI stop is more than just a traffic violation. Depending on the nature of the offense (first or repeat offense), a conviction for drunk driving comes with severe legal and personal consequences.
If you are stopped for drunk driving, it is important to understand that your case begins right there and then. Anything you do from the very moment the police pull you over will somehow impact the outcome of your case. As such, it is important that you avoid legal missteps that can jeopardize your case.
Here are two mistakes you need to steer clear of during and after a DUI stop.
Refusing to take the Breathalyzer test
The police require reasonable suspicion to stop you for a DUI investigation. However, this is never enough to secure a charge. To formally charge you for drunk driving, the police must obtain evidence that your blood alcohol content (BAC) level exceeds the legal limit. And this is where the Breathalyzer test comes in.
Refusing a Breathalyzer test, however, can get you in deeper trouble. Missouri is an implied consent state. This means that refusing to yield to the breathalyzer test request is an offense. Besides the DUI charge, you will face an additional charge as well.
Thinking you are not in serious trouble
Any criminal conviction is a big deal. Specifically, a drunk driving conviction will remain on your record for the rest of your life. Thus, besides the legal penalties, you will also have long-term collateral consequences to contend with. For instance, a DUI conviction can impact your career, education and even the ability to rent a property.
For these reasons, it is important that you treat your drunk driving stop with the seriousness it deserves. This involves getting the legal representation you badly need to fight the charges as well as respecting the legal process.