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DUI Traffic Stops in Richmond

In the following page, a Richmond DUI attorney speaks about your rights at a DUI traffic stop. If you have been charged with DUI, you have the right to seek legal counsel to move forward with your case. Contact our law offices for a free initial consultation.

Being pulled over can be an intimidating process. For this reason, the following is what you should know about getting stopped by law enforcement in the city of Richmond. If you are facing criminal charges, especially DUI, consult with a Richmond DUI lawyer to discuss your case.

Pulling Over the Vehicle

When getting pulled over it is always best to pull over on the nearest shoulder. If there is no shoulder available then pull off into your nearest well-lit area or parking lot. One way to indicate to the officer that you’re attempting to find a pull off location is to slow down and put on your emergency blinkers.

After being pulled over you should roll down the window and have your license and registration/proof of insurance ready to present. We also recommend keeping your hands in plain sight.  It is best to keep your hands visible at all times and/or place them on the steering wheel so the officer can see them.

One of the common errors we see is when individuals get out of their vehicle after being stopped to go speak with the officer.  Our word of advice is to always stay in your vehicle unless the officer asks you to step out.

In addition, don’t go climbing over your seat or reaching around the car, it will only raise concerns with the officer.  You want to try and keep your movement to a minimum and not give the officer any reason to believe you are concealing something. In addition to that, do not get an attitude or argue with the officer because it will get you nowhere. Let your attorney do the arguing for you in court.

Pulling Over At Night

At night we typically recommend trying to pull over in a well-lit area.  This will allow the officer to see you and see the inside of your vehicle to avoid any confusion and allay any fears or reservations the officer may have. It will also allow you to properly identify the officer and interact better.

At a nighttime stop, we usually recommend you to turn on the interior light of your vehicle but again, especially at night if the officers are alone, you really want to diffuse any tension, so always, always keep your hands in plain sight.

What To Do After Being Stopped By Police

After being stopped on suspicion of DUI the officer will ask you a series of questions about where you are going, coming from, and if you have been drinking.  The officer will then ask you to perform field sobriety tests. These tests are used to determine your ability to follow instructions and coordination.  Law enforcement will also ask you to perform a PBT test which is used to determine your breath alcohol level.  If you perform badly on these tests or even refuse to do them, the officer can arrest you on suspicion of DUI. You will then be taken to the police station where they’ll perform the BAC on an intoxilyzer, which is a machine that they use to test blood alcohol.

They will ask you to give two samples and if your lowest sample is a 0.08 of higher you will be charged with DUI.  In addition, even if you test lower than a 0.08 you can still be charged with DUI if your driving, behavior, or field tests were indicative of impairment.

Responding to the Officer’s Questions at a Richmond DUI Stop

Typically when an officer approaches your vehicle, they will ask you why you are being pulled over. They’ll ask you for your license and registration, and proof of insurance. If there is any indication that you’re under the influence of alcohol, they’ll ask you if you’ve been drinking. They’ll ask you where you’re going and they’ll ask you where you’ve been and/or how much you have had to drink.

You don’t have to answer all the officer’s questions. The answers you are required to provide or the questions you are required to answer are those regarding:

  • Who you are
  • Your license and/or proof of insurance or registration

If you’re asked about speeding, you are not required to acknowledge your speed or comment. With speeding or reckless driving, the state is not required to show your speeding was intentional; they are only required to show you what your speed was.

There’s nothing I would necessarily recommend you to ask the officer. Again, typically what you can do is ask the officer why you were pulled over, which is usually the most prudent thing to do. If you disagree with why the officer pulled you over, do not argue with the officer.  If you disagree with what the officer says or why you were stopped, you can obviously mention that but always be polite and cooperative.  Remember, let your attorney argue for you in Court.

License, Registration, and Proof of Insurance in Richmond

After you’ve provided the officer with your registration and license, the officer may ask questions about your speed or where you’re going or where you have been. If there’s any indication of alcohol, the officer may ask you a series of questions about drinking. If the officer believes you are impaired, you will be asked to perform a series of tests to determine you level of impairment.

If it’s just a simple speeding ticket, the officer will provide you with a copy of your ticket to sign. Signing the ticket is not an admission of guilt but only an acknowledgement that you understand what you’re charged with.  If it is reckless driving, the officer will advise you that you must appear in court and send you on your way.

What To Look For on a Traffic Ticket or Summons

When given a ticket you want to confirm your personal information, the charge, and the Court date.  In addition, you want to know if you are required to appear in Court. With speeding tickets, you’re typically not required to appear but if it’s a reckless driving or a DUI charge, you will be required to appear.

Again, it’s always best to be polite and cooperative, even if you do disagree with the ticket. If you argue with the officer you will not change their mind and will only make matters worse. Let the courts determine if the ticket was proper or not.

Unmarked Police Vehicles and Plainclothes Officers

If you’re pulled over by an unmarked vehicle or an officer who’s not in uniform, you’re well within your rights to ask for some identification from the officer. If the officer refuses to provide any, you can attempt to ask to call the local police department just to verify anything.