If You’re Arrested For an NH DWI, Here’s What NOT To Do!
If you have not heard of the Ferguson, Missouri case in which Officer Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown after he resisted arrest on August 9th, 2014, you’re either deceased or lost in LaLa Land. What can we learn from this case?
If an individual you recognize as a police officer states that you are being placed under arrest for a DWI or another type of criminal offense, here is what you SHOULD do:
1. Say “I understand” or “Thank you”.
2. Follow the officer’s verbal instructions to the letter.
3. Make sure your hands are visible at all times.
4. If you have too, drop to your knees. Remember to keep your hands visible.
5. Do what is required to let the police officer know that you aren’t going to interfere to go home to his family at the end of the day.
Here is what you should NOT do:
1. Do not try to convince the police officer you’re innocent.
2. Do not argue with the officer.
3. Don’t begin reciting the Constitution.
4. Do not quote Thomas Jefferson or Perry Mason.
Just shut up and allow the officer to place the cuffs on you.
Yes, we are encouraging you to cooperate with police. No, we are not telling you to turn state’s evidence.
We are not telling you to submit to a Breathalyzer test. (Don’t do that.) We are not saying to take any field sobriety tests. (Please don’t do those!) Nor are we saying to allow police officers to search your vehicle. (Never, ever do this!) What we are advising you to do is to not resist arrest.
Even if I don’t think I should be arrested, should I just quietly?
This is exactly what we are saying. If you willingly cooperate with police officers, you will be taken to the local police station. Eventually, you will either be brought before a judge who will determine what happens to you or you will be bailed out. If you have attempted to resist arrest by running away, fighting with the officer who tried to arrest you, or attempted to prevent handcuffs from being placed on you, more than likely, one of three different things will occur:
1. You will end up in court with a “resisting arrest” charge tacked onto your DWI charge, and we assure you that it is much more difficult to have a resisting arrest charge dismissed.
2. You will wind up in the hospital due to:
a. Having been escorted to the pavement.
b. Having been escorted across the hood of a squad car.
c. Escorted to a worse fate via a baton, mace, or one of those K-9 units (the things that look like Rin Tin, but bite like Cujo).
3. You’ll be in the morgue.
Do not resist arrest. Being arrested for driving while intoxicated can be a harrowing experience, but your arrest is only the beginning of your legal journey. Do not make things more difficult for yourself by resisting arrest. How is resisting arrest defined? By doing almost anything besides turning around, offering the officer your hands, and allowing him or her to handcuff you.
Most mornings (especially on Mondays), our office must contend with a long list of DWI/ resisting arrest cases wherein the client believed, especially in their inebriated state, that it would be helpful to run from the police officers, refuse to get into the police car, refuse to turn around to be arrested (“No, officer! Wait! I wasn’t done telling you about my legal rights!”), and so on.
If you are uncertain whether or not you are being placed under arrest, simply ask the officer. If you are, make sure you comply. If the answer is yes, then comply with the officers. If the answer is no, then you have the legal right to decline to answer any incriminating questions and can request to be allowed to go on your way. Remember, you do not have to submit to a breathalyzer test or field sobriety tests either. However, do not go anywhere until the officer tells you it is ok. Doing so is referred to as resisting detention.
If you have a medical emergency, tell the officer right away, but keep your hands where he can see them!
All in all, a police officer is not as concerned with what happens with your DWI case as much as he is about making sure he gets to go home to his family at night. Don’t confess to anything. Police officers do not always behave perfectly either, but the burden of compliance is on you.