Defense lawyers are often asked about hypothetical situations. A common one we are asked is “What do I do if I am suspected of drunk driving?” The general answer is – it depends.
If you are suspected of impaired driving, the officer will likely move quickly. It’s important for you to stay calm and collected.
I would start off by advising you to be polite. By being polite I don’t mean to be overly helpful – don’t answer any questions about the last time you ate, drank, or slept; or about any medications you have been taking. Do not lie about your identity to the officer and do not say anything that would make the officer feel concerned for his or her own safety.
Be aware that due to the increased presence of dash cams that you might be recorded as soon as the police car comes within sight. You certainly will be taped if you are taken to the police station.
If you are being taken to the police station – stay calm. What this likely means is that the officer believes that he or she has reasonable grounds to ask you to provide a breath sample. It’s normal to worry about your car, your possessions in the car, people who might be expecting you at your destination point and so on. Try and pay attention to what the officer says and does and be clear about what you do or do not understand. You can ask the police to repeat instructions or to speak louder. If you have any immediate medical needs, tell the police about them.
You should be asked if you want to speak to a lawyer. If you aren’t or if you aren’t sure what is going on – ask to speak to a lawyer. The police should provide you with a list of numbers or possibly a telephone book. They should also offer you a working phone. The numbers should include free lawyers who work in the evenings. You should be given an opportunity to speak to a lawyer without anyone being able to overhear what you are saying. You can ask your lawyer to talk to the police if the police are not giving you a private place to receive legal advice.
If you have been charged with impaired driving in the province of Alberta, we have a team of experienced professionals who are ready to assist you. Feel free to contact one of our lawyers and we would be happy to assist you.