What Happens If You Have Been Drinking and Get Stopped by a Cop Part II
Our previous blog posting covered what typically happens in the District of Columbia when you get pulled over by police and have been drinking. This post is the second part of the two-part series that discusses what usually happens when you get to the police station after the police arrest you for DUI. Remember, no two situations are the same and this is not intended to tell you exactly what to expect but just a general overview of what usually happens. Upon arrest, DC police officers usually call for a “transport,” which is a separate police officer and vehicle whose sole purpose is to take you from the scene of the stop to the closest police station.
On the ride from the scene to the station, you will be handcuffed and placed into a large van that is almost like a mini jail on wheels. It’s a moving steel cage designed to prevent escape. Do not expect to be comfortable. At this point, you might be wondering:
What happened to my car when they arrested me for a DC DUI?
Depending on the circumstances and the individual officers, they may do three possible things with your vehicle. First, the police might call for a tow truck to tow your vehicle. Second, the officers might just themselves move it to a parking space and leave it there. Finally, the officer may allow someone you know to take custody of the vehicle. For example, if you have a passenger in your car who can prove they are sober, the police might let the person take the vehicle with your permission.
Once you arrive at the station, the officers will likely search you. In addition, they will take your belt and shoelaces. It sounds morbid but the reason they do that is to prevent someone who is in their custody from hanging themselves. The station clerk will also take your personal property, including wallet, keys, cell phone (whatever you have on you) and book that into the property book. They should absolutely give you a receipt itemizing the property they confiscated and letting you know how to retrieve the property after they release you. If they have your vehicle towed, they should also absolutely give you a receipt showing where to retrieve your vehicle.
The clerk will ask you typical biographical information: name, date of birth, address, social security number, etc. It’s best to cooperate when asked basic biographical questions. However, any experienced DC DUI lawyer will tell you to assert your right to silence should any of the officers ask you other questions intended to incriminate you. Some typical questions may be:
- How much have you had to drink?
- Where were you coming from tonight?
- Have you ever been arrested for DUI before?
Sometimes, the police will just try to get you to keep talking to try and get you to say inconsistent things or to further observe your speech to bolster their report and claim you are slurring or making nonsensical comments. That’s why its best to only answer biographical questions and otherwise state you will not answer questions without a lawyer present.
The police will take your fingerprints and take your mug shot. Lastly, the police will request you to take a breathalyzer test or a urine test if they suspect you are driving under the influence of drugs. Before asking you to take the test, the police are required by law to read you the District of Columbia Implied Consent law. For more information on whether it’s advisable to take the breathalyzer test, please read our previous post on that issue.
If everything goes smoothly and you are not on probation or have another pending case, you should be released from the station on citation with instruction to appear in court on a particular date. The police should also give you a notice stating that if you do not affirmatively request a DMV hearing, then your license will be suspended.
The smartest thing you can do upon release is to immediately contact a DC DUI lawyer to find out what steps you should take before your court date. If you or a friend or family member get arrested for DUI, contact Jay P. Mykytiuk Trial attorney immediately for a full consultation.