Annapolis DUI Stop Process

A DUI stop in Annapolis will essentially start out no different than a speed stop, or failure to stop at a stop sign. The officer must have good probable cause for the stop.

If you are concerned about the DUI stop process in Annapolis, it is important to work with a skilled DUI attorney who has experiencing contesting stops and who can determine if your rights have been violated. To learn more or discuss the legality of your stop, call today.

Process Leading up to a Stop

If a person believes that a police officer is trying to pull them over, they should pull over on the side of the road. Under no circumstances should a person keep driving or try to get away. Trying to get away could cause a person to be charged with fleeing and eluding. It carries a year in jail and a $1,000 fine – the same maximum penalty as a first offense DUI. Mix that in with alcohol, and a person may find a judge who is very unwilling to look past the fact that not only was the person drinking and driving, but then they tried to flee the scene. That could cause the judge to believe that the person is an even more substantial public safety risk.

If an individual is on a main road with a shoulder, they should pull over to the far right-hand side, which is the safest area, unless they are on the left and there is an area for them to stop there as well.

If this is a road that does not have a safe area, and the person is on a main street or highway, it will be reasonable for a person to drive to a safe place, so the first immediate safe place to exit the highway and pull off. That is absolutely functional and proper, for the safety of both the driver and the officer, as either of them may run the risk of getting struck by a vehicle otherwise. The court can typically determine what distance is within the rights of someone trying to be safe, versus attempting to flee the scene.

Acknowledging Police

If a person is worried what they are doing is wrong, they can always call 911 or a local non-emergency line and say they are currently on the highway, right by a certain exit, and there is an officer with their lights on behind them and that they are calling to let them know that they are going to the next exit so that they can safely be in an area that will not put them in harm’s way.

Putting on the vehicle’s hazard lights is another great way to let the officer know that they have been seen and acknowledged the officer’s request and that the person is attempting to find a safe spot to pull over.

Talking to an Officer

A person should have their license and registration ready to hand to the officer. It is not necessary to make any statements. Once a person has pulled off to the side of the road, they should roll down the window and have their license and registration ready. The more trouble a person becomes, the more the officer will investigate, and the more they will believe that a person is excited because they are under the influence of something. If it is not alcohol, then the officer may look for drugs.

Officers will treat the person just as well as they treat them. But if a person becomes a problem for the officer, and more officers are called, a person will find that there is a good chance that they could also be charged criminally, such as with disorderly conduct. This is something that a person would then have to face further penalties on.

The officer will either ask that the person finds another way home and leave their car at the side of the road, or allow that person to continue their drive home, only if the person’s breath scores are good enough, and then the testing may continue from there.

Stop Process with an Officer

When the officer approaches the window of the vehicle, they will ask for the person’s license and registration. A person does not have to answer a single question other than giving over their information. If an officer asks a person if they knew they were speeding, they could say they did not know that or that they have no comment.  An individual should keep their hands visible when an officer is on the side of the vehicle. They could be on the steering wheel, they could be on the door, but they must be kept visible at all times. A person should exit their vehicle to only when directed. The presumption is a person will stay in their car. They must have some reason to get out of the vehicle, and this should generally only be if the officer asks.

The biggest mistake a person can make during the stop process of an Annapolis DUI is talking too much. The more a person talks, the more information they give, and the more difficult it can become for them to prove innocence. Judges can also consider what is said at a traffic stop, not just law enforcement, and a judge could consider this an admission of drinking. The person could say something that contradicts and earlier statement, or act like they are trying to talk themselves out of it, and this usually makes it much worse.

Stops at Night

These factors of starting a DUI stop process in Annapolis do not change necessarily if someone is being pulled over at night. A person needs to use good common sense when driving at night seeing sirens behind them. This may mean going further down the road to pull over somewhere safe, or making the first immediate exit.

A person needs to conduct themselves professionally. As time moves forward, and body cameras become more and more a part of the norm, the characterization of a client becomes incredibly important.

Unmarked Vehicles

Unmarked vehicles are definitely on the road throughout Anne Arundel County, typically in Ford Explorers, Tauruses, and Tahoes. Most people know what an unmarked car looks like, and can tell by the light sequences. However, this is not to say that someone has not copied that and has tried to impersonate an officer. This can be even more suspicious if the person comes up to the car in plain clothes.

If a person is approached by an unmarked vehicle, that person can ask that the officer identifies themselves and shows proper identification. Or, a person can call the police as they are driving and give them their location to verify the unmarked vehicle is a police car. When doing so, the person should put on their hazards and keep driving until the car is authenticated.