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Matthew Radefeld & Dan Juengel
Matthew A. Radefeld and Daniel A. Juengel

Know Your Rights: A Guide to Handling a DWI Traffic Stop

On Behalf of | Feb 9, 2024 | Uncategorized |

Facing a DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) traffic stop can be a daunting experience, but understanding your rights and knowing how to conduct yourself can make a significant difference in the outcome of the situation. One of the most critical rights you have during a DWI stop is the right to remain silent. Here’s what you need to know about exercising this right and other essential steps to take during a DWI traffic stop.

The Right to Remain Silent

When law enforcement pulls you over on suspicion of DWI, you have the right to remain silent under the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution. This means you are not obligated to answer any questions beyond providing your basic identification information, such as your name and driver’s license. It’s essential to exercise this right to avoid incriminating yourself.

You can politely decline to answer questions about where you’ve been, whether you’ve been drinking, or how much you’ve had to drink. Keep in mind that anything you say during a traffic stop can be used against you in court, so it’s best to remain silent until you have legal representation present.

Provide Required Documentation

While exercising your right to remain silent, it’s crucial to cooperate with law enforcement by providing the necessary documentation, such as your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance. Failing to provide these documents can lead to additional legal trouble.

Field Sobriety Tests and Breathalyzer Tests

During a DWI traffic stop, law enforcement may ask you to perform field sobriety tests or submit to a breathalyzer test to determine your level of intoxication. It’s important to understand that you have the right to refuse these tests, but there may be consequences for doing so, such as license suspension or arrest.

Field sobriety tests, such as walking in a straight line or standing on one leg, are subjective and often unreliable indicators of intoxication. Similarly, breathalyzer tests can produce inaccurate results for various reasons. If you choose to decline these tests, remain calm and assert your right to refuse politely.

Request Legal Representation

If you are arrested or placed under arrest, it’s crucial to request legal representation immediately. You have the right to consult with an attorney before answering any questions or providing further statements to law enforcement. An experienced DWI defense attorney can advise you on how to proceed and protect your rights throughout the legal process.

Remain Calm and Cooperative

While asserting your rights during a DWI traffic stop, it’s essential to remain calm and cooperative with law enforcement. Avoid arguing, resisting arrest, or behaving aggressively, as this can escalate the situation and lead to additional charges. Maintain a respectful demeanor and comply with lawful orders to avoid further complications.


Facing a DWI traffic stop can be a stressful and intimidating experience, but knowing your rights and how to handle yourself can help protect your interests. Remember your right to remain silent, provide required documentation, and request legal representation if necessary. By staying calm, cooperative, and informed, you can navigate a DWI traffic stop with confidence and minimize the potential consequences. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t hesitate to seek guidance from an experienced DWI defense attorney to ensure your rights are protected.