You Have the Right Not to Help Police in Traffic Stops

A Polite Refusal Changes the Dynamics   

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 09, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Vince Imhoff, has real world advice for unwise holiday celebrants who drive after drinking. Imhoff is Founder and Managing Director of the nation’s largest criminal defense law firm with 650 attorneys in 49 states, Imhoff & Associates PC.

“Every driver has the right not to help police convict them of a crime,” according to Imhoff. “But don’t invite police to stop you when you’ve been drinking…even a little,” he added.   

Vince Imhoff’s TOP TEN rules for drivers:

  1. Don’t say you only had two beers, police never believe you.  Don’t say anything except: “Officer, I don’t want to discuss my day with you.”  
  2. Shut up! Don’t talk at all.  There is no reason to give police an excuse to say you were incoherent, confused or exhibited slurred speech.  Don’t help the police. Discovering evidence and the burden of proof is on them.
  3. Don’t make quick or furtive movements. When pulled over for a traffic stop, don’t make any quick movements in your car while the officers are behind you.  They will think you are hiding contraband and search your car and make you get out of your car. Once you are out of your car, all your movements are then subject to the police  officer’s interpretation. This will provide the police officer with an ability to judge your coordination and ability to move normally and not appear drunk. It’s best to keep your hands on the wheel where police can see them.
  4. Don’t look drunk. Have your driver’s license, registration and insurance card in a place that is easily accessible by you when seated in the driver’s seat.  Don’t look like you’re confused or fumbling around or trying to hide something.
  5. Don’t roll your window all the way down, just enough to politely hand the officer your documents.  It makes it more difficult for a police officer to testify that she smelled alcohol or marijuana.
  6. Don’t get out of the car unless asked by the police.  This gives police the opportunity to see your ability to move, to smell alcohol or marijuana and assess your alertness.
  7. Don’t perform any field sobriety test; ever hear of anyone passing one?  Perform no field sobriety test, such as walking in a straight line, or roadside breath test.  Politely refuse, you do not need to give officers a reason to arrest you.
  8. Politely refuse. Drivers have the right not to help the police in traffic stops. When asked how much you have had to drink today, politely tell the officer that you will not be discussing your day with the police.  Don’t engage in a conversation about where you’ve been or what you’ve been doing.  Be polite, but firmly refuse to discuss your day.  Politely refuse again. Politely refuse all tests at the police station too, you do not have to take a sobriety test.
  9. Don’t forget to fix your tail light.  Don’t drive a car with a broken tail light or headlight out, or one that’s obviously in run down or in unsafe appearing condition. You may as well invite police to stop you.  And it’s against the law to drive an unsafe vehicle, so you could be nailed for committing two crimes at once!
  10. Don’t kid yourself.  If you’ve been stopped, it’s probably for a good reason.  You may have simply made a move in traffic that attracted police attention, but you may also have a drinking, marijuana or drug problem that in time can ruin your life. Defend any accusation, of course, you do not want a DUI/DWI on your record. But at the same time, recognize that something abnormal about your driving attracted the police and that you are at risk of suffering serious, life changing consequences.  Ask for help.  If arrested, call a competent attorney experienced in defending DUI/DWI cases. Experienced DUI/DWI defense lawyers are not afraid to challenge field sobriety test results and witness testimonies, including those made by law enforcement officials.  Police have the burden of proof, you don’t have to help them. But don’t be stupid.

Don’t drink and drive under any circumstances, it’s a crime and can lead to serious consequences.  If you have any doubts about your sobriety, or people around you do, call a taxi or Uber or LYFT or a nearby friend to drive you home.  Bartenders often arrange transportation for customers who need assistance, too.  Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help, it’s the smart thing to do.  The price of a taxi ride home is miniscule compared to what a DUI/DWI conviction will cost.

About Imhoff & Associates PC

Imhoff & Associates PC, (www.criminalattorney.com) headquartered in Los Angeles, has represented more than 15,000 defendants accused of a crime through its network of more than 650 attorneys in 49 states.  Vince Imhoff served as Cook County (Chicago) Public Defender for seven years, then started a criminal defense practice in 1997 that by 2003 had grown rapidly and attracted the attention of nationally recognized civil rights crusader Johnny Cochran. Imhoff joined the Cochran firm as Managing Director of the Criminal Defense Section and left in 2005, after Mr. Cochran passed away, to reestablish Imhoff & Associates PC .  The firm’s practice areas include: DUI/DWI, drug crimes, military crimes, pre-file cases, domestic abuse, professional license disputes, property crimes, sex crimes, violent crimes, corporate fraud and executive misbehavior. Imhoff & Associates PC is located at 12424 Wilshire, Suite 700, Los Angeles, Calif. 90025, (800) 887-0000.  To interview Vince Imhoff, please contact Gary Douglas at gary@douglasstrategic.com or 310.592.3049.