Never admit to having used any kind of alcohol or drugs to an officer, regardless of the circumstances of your stop. Always remember that even prior to your arrest and being read your Miranda rights, certain pieces of information will remain admissible as evidence, such as what gave the officer reasonable cause to detain you in the first place. If you give the officer no such cause and you are subsequently arrested, you may be able to use your own good behavior prior to the arrest as proof that the officer had no reason to detain you in the first place.
It is perfectly fine to alleviate an officer's concerns by offering to get a ride home with a friend or take a cab. If they accuse you of knowing that you should not be driving, let them know that you absolutely do not agree that you are impaired in any way, but that you realize the officer is trying to do his job, and you are more than willing to cooperate in every way by obtaining alternative transportation home.
Even if you “play by the rules” all the way through the traffic stop, and even if you really are not impaired by alcohol, you may still be arrested. However, it is important that you still remain calm. Police officers are charged with the responsibility of keeping society safe, and if they have any suspicion that you have or will commit a crime, it is their responsibility to arrest you. It does not mean that you will actually be charged or go to trial. It does mean, however, that you will be asked to consent to alcohol concentration tests. If an officer smells alcohol on your breath or if you admit to having drinks before driving, you are more likely to be arrested.
Remember, the only true way to avoid being arrested for a DWI is to not drink and drive. Anyone who has had even one drink and then gets behind the wheel runs the risk of being detained or arrested for a DWI.
If you are stopped by police, remain calm and polite. Do not admit to any wrongdoing, whether it be a traffic violation or drinking before driving. Remember that your behavior may affect whether or not you are further detained by the officer.
Willingly comply with providing your license and proof of insurance/registration card to the officer. Do not, however, agree to any field sobriety testing. Be polite, but firmly refuse. Do not get out of the vehicle unless you are ordered to (not requested to, but required to) by the officer.
Ask to contact your attorney immediately, and offer to get a ride home or take a cab if the officer is concerned. Be clear about your reasons for doing this – that you are attempting to cooperate with the officer, but do not agree with his or her assessment of your impairment.
Refusing an alcohol concentration test may be admissible as evidence against you and will result in up to a two-year license suspension. Remember that in some cases, such as when there is an accident or a death, you may be compelled to comply with alcohol concentration testing. In the next chapter, we will go over in more detail what happens if you get arrested.
This post contains excerpts from The DWI Book, the definitive guide to protecting your rights in the face of New Hampshire's tough DWI/DUI laws.