The best defense against an operating while intoxicated (OWI) charge in Iowa is to refrain from drinking and driving. However, drivers often take to the road after having a drink or two and are pulled over by officers under suspicion of drunk driving.
If you are pulled over, it’s important to remember how to act and react to the officer’s questions and instructions. If charged, contacting an experienced defense attorney is a good first step. They will make sure officers followed all the proper procedures involved in your arrest.
Important steps to take if you are pulled over
Once an officer stops you, here are five crucial things to remember:
- Pull over immediately and stay in the car: Once the police vehicle’s lights began to flash, pull over to the side of the road as quickly and safely as possible, shut off your vehicle, remove any hats or hoods and place your hands on the wheel. Stay in the car unless instructed otherwise.
- Be polite: Politely answer the officer’s questions, and don’t get defensive by talking back, cursing at the officer or disobeying his orders. You could face further charges by acting out.
- Know your rights: While you should be respectful to officers, you don’t have to incriminate yourself. The Fifth Amendment guarantees your right to remain silent.
- Honesty isn’t always the best policy: Sharing with police the number of drinks you consumed will likely not help your situation because they probably won’t believe you if you say you only had one drink. While you should comply with their directions, don’t offer unnecessary information.
- Stay calm if arrested: Even if you fully comply with officer’s instructions, there is a good chance you will be arrested for OWI if the officer believes you’ve been drinking. Remain calm, ask for a lawyer and don’t share any other information.
Know your rights if charged with OWI in Iowa
An OWI conviction in Iowa brings consequences that can last for years, including jail time, fines and higher insurance rates which can double or triple. An experienced criminal defense attorney here in Iowa will make sure officers had probable cause and followed proper procedures, which can result in dropped or reduced charges.