Indiana DUI Do's and Don'ts
There are certain things you absolutely must not do if you are arrested or become a suspect in a criminal or traffic case:
- Do…insist upon your right to speak to an attorney before answering any questions, making any statements, signing any documents (other than a traffic citation, which is not an admission of guilt), consenting to any search, or providing any physical evidence. There are certain exceptions to this rule, such as breath, urine or blood tests pursuant to the Indiana Implied Consent Law, which requires that you submit to such tests or lose your license for one year; you have no right to consult with an attorney before submitting to tests under the Implied Consent Law.
- Do…obey the law enforcement officer's reasonable commands. The officer's primary concern will be "officer safety", so he will want to secure the area, "frisk" you for weapons, and restrain you with handcuffs and/or by placing you in the back seat of his vehicle. Be cooperative and courteous without making any admissions. You don't need to add resisting law enforcement to your charges.
- Do…tell the police officer very calmly, if you are armed with a weapon. I would use the following words: "Officer, I have a valid permit to carry a concealed weapon in the State of Indiana. My handgun is located _____. I will keep my hands where you can see them while you retrieve my handgun." Remember the officer is armed and by now possibly afraid. Let him direct you as to how to make him feel safe. If you keep your weapon in the glove box, tell the officer before reaching for your registration (better yet, keep your registration somewhere else), and let him get out your registration.
- Do…give the officer the basic information necessary to identify you, issue tickets, and fill out accident reports, without discussing any facts concerning the alleged offense. Rather than saying "I don't know" or "I don't recall", which may be used to impeach your testimony later, it is safer to say "I won't make any statements without my attorney present".
- Do…cooperate in being "mugged" (photographed) and fingerprinted.
- Do…read all of these do's and don'ts together. Reading one out of context with the others may be confusing, or even hazardous to your legal well-being.
- Do…print these out for future use or study. Knowledge is power!
- Don't…speak to anyone, in any way, at any time, under any circumstances, concerning any facts of the case, without your attorney present and at his direction. You are not obligated to assist the police in convicting you…so don't.
- Don't…take any so-called "field sobriety tests". The Indiana Implied Consent Law only applies to an approved chemical test for intoxication (breath, urine, or blood). You must submit to any number of the approved tests within three hours of your driving, or your license will be suspended. You may even refuse to submit to the approved tests (and suffer the consequences), but there are no penalties for refusing other "tests". Common Field Sobriety Tests include the "Standardized" tests: a) Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus; b) One Leg Stand; and c) Walk and Turn; and numerous made-up tests police use to trip you up. Don't agree to take any Field Sobriety Tests. They are not reliable even when properly performed and very few police know how to perform them. Tell the officer: "I am not going to perform any field sobriety tests".
- Don't…take the "Alco-Sensor" or PBT ("portable or preliminary" breath test). This is a portable breath testing device carried by most Indiana police officers. Its results are only admissible to show probable cause to offer the approved test or to arrest you. While it is possible that a low result may prompt the officer to let you go, it is far more likely that the result will be used against you in the arrest decision. Remember, the only tests covered by Implied Consent Law are approved breath, urine or blood tests. The breath testing machines are normally located at police departments or jails. If in doubt, ask the officer: "Is this a breath test approved by the Indiana University Department of Toxicology?" If the answer is no, decline to take it.
- Don't…agree to appear in a line-up or a show-up, give a handwriting, hair, fingernail, body fluid, or other sample, submit to a polygraph ("lie detector") or any other examination, or say any phrases ("Hand over the money", etc.) without first consulting with counsel.
- Don't…waste your one phone call on telling your boss you won't be in tomorrow. Firmly insist on your right to call your attorney, then do so.