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How can you protect your rights during a Maryland DUI stop?

On Behalf of | Jul 8, 2024 | Drunk Driving

Confronting charges for driving under the influence (DUI) can be a life-altering event, resulting in fines, license suspension and even jail time. In Maryland, the penalties for a DUI conviction can be severe, with a first-time offender facing up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000. The consequences can also extend beyond legal penalties, potentially impacting your career, relationships and future opportunities.

Knowing how to navigate a DUI traffic stop can significantly affect your case’s outcome. But what exactly should you do, or avoid doing, if law enforcement pulls you over on suspicion of DUI? Here are some common mistakes people make during these traffic stops and how you can navigate these challenging situations more effectively.

Mistake #1: Failing to pull over safely and promptly

Once you see those flashing lights in your rearview mirror, it is crucial to act swiftly but safely. Stay calm, signal your intention to pull over and gradually slow down. Find a safe spot on the right side of the road to stop. This smooth, controlled stop demonstrates your awareness and cooperation from the outset, setting a positive tone for the entire interaction.

Mistake #2: Being uncooperative or hostile with law enforcement

Stay calm and respectful, even if you feel frustrated or scared. Leave your hands visible on the steering wheel and follow their instructions carefully. Speak politely and avoid arguments. When asked, provide your license, registration and insurance. While a cooperative attitude will not erase DUI suspicions, it can prevent additional charges like resisting arrest.

Mistake #3: Admitting to drinking or impairment

Exercise your right to remain silent. Avoid volunteering information about your previous whereabouts or what or how much you have consumed. If an officer asks about your drinking, politely respond that you prefer not to answer questions without a lawyer present. Remember, even seemingly innocent admissions can potentially harm your case later.

Navigating a DUI stop effectively requires more than just legal knowledge; it demands smart decision-making in a high-pressure situation. As you face this challenging moment, remember to take a deep breath and stay calm. Know your rights and use them wisely. Above all, prioritize your safety throughout the interaction.