Seeing a patrol car behind you is nerve-wracking for anyone. If you have recently had a drink, those blue lights are especially frightening. Panic only makes the situation worse.

Learning what to do now, before a stop, may help you remain calm and collected if officers stop you for DWI.

1. Be respectful, yet quiet

Be courteous, but do not volunteer any information that could hurt your case. For example, if an officer asks whether you have been drinking, you may say that you need to speak to an attorney before answering any questions.

2. Understand implied consent

Officers may ask you to blow into a portable breath testing device or perform a field sobriety test.

  • Portable breath test: A PBT is a small, handheld device. Refusing to blow into a PBT does not violate Missouri’s implied consent laws and does not trigger an automatic license suspension. If you refuse the PBT, officers may take you to a police station for evidentiary breath, blood or urine testing.
  • Evidentiary breath test: An evidentiary testing device is at least the size of a briefcase and may have a printer attached. Refusing to submit to this test violates Missouri’s implied consent laws, and the state may automatically suspend your license as a result.
  • Field sobriety test: Refusing to perform a field sobriety test does not violate Missouri’s implied consent laws and does not trigger an automatic license suspension.

3. Ask to speak to a lawyer

If officers arrest you, ask to call an attorney. Do not submit to any testing at the station until after you speak to a lawyer.

Your words and actions during a DWI stop often have a tremendous impact on the outcome of your case. Knowing what to do may help you remain calm and make wise decisions during the stop.