17 Questions to ask yourself after being arrested for a DUI

Jon Bryant Artz DUI and Criminal Attorney, Lecturer and Editorial Consultant
17 Questions to ask yourself after being arrested for a DUI

This is a list of 17 questions that you should answer as soon as possible after you have been arrested for a DUI or DWI. Answering these questions will help you remember the circumstances of your arrest if and when you have to go to court. The document will also be very helpful to your DUI attorney in preparing your DUI defense.

Times and the kinds of drinks are critical. If a driver recently drank alcohol before the first contact with law enforcement, that is good for the defense due to the time it takes for alcohol to become absorbed into the blood (as can be reflected in the breath) and a person's blood alcohol content rises from the time of the driving up to the time of its peak, which can take up to one hour.

  1. Do you remember the time when you were pulled over (or the time of the accident)?
  2. Was anyone else in the car? If so who?
  3. Describe your driving just before you were stopped. Where you weaving or driving erratically? Were you involved in an accident? Was your attention diverted by someone or something? Was your driving impaired? Driving is circumstantial evidence of the condition of the driver. If someone pulls over right away and responds to the flashing lights on the police cruiser, that is consistent with someone who isn't impaired.
  4. What was the reason given by the police when you were pulled over or stopped? Was it for a vehicle infraction like a broken tail light, speeding, a sobriety checkpoint, or an accident? Describe as much as you can about the scene. Go back to the scene and take photos if you believe the scene may change, taking photos of your car and where you performed field sobriety tests, etc.
  5. What questions did the police ask you and how did you answer?
  6. Do you remember the name and number of the officer(s) who spoke and interacted with you before, during and after the DUI arrest?
  7. Describe your physical appearance and how you acted when speaking with the officer. Did you have any problems communicating with the officer? Was you speech slurred? Are there any  witnesses prior to the police contact that will attest that your speech was not slurred?
  8. Did you complete a field sobriety test? Did you take a Preliminary Alcohol Screening (portable breath test) and if so, what did the officer say to get you to submit to the test? (The test is a search for alcohol, and prior to arrest there is no implied consent to such a search. If the officer told you to breathe into it, the argument is that the breath test was unreasonable and violated the Fourth Amendment. What time did you do the field test? Were you nervous? What were the conditions, e.g., surface bumpy, traffic going by, dark and so on. Remember to consider taking photos or even a video using your phone.
  9. How did you do on the field sobriety test? What did the officer say?
  10. When you were arrested, what did the officer do and say?
  11. Do you remember the exact time of the arrest?
  12. Where and what time did you submit to the chemical blood or breath tests? Which test? How many breath samples if it was a breath test?
  13. Did you speak to anyone while in police custody? Do you remember who and what you said?
  14. Where were you and at what time did you have your last drink? How many drinks did you have? Did you eat anything? When? Were you with anyone where you were drinking? Who? If there was a bill at the bar or restaurant, who paid the bill? How? By credit card? Does the charge slip at the restaurant show the time of paying the bill?
  15. What prescription drugs or other over-the-counter drugs had you taken the day you were arrested? When did you take them and in what quantity?
  16. What was your health condition at the time you were pulled over or stopped? Did you have a cold or allergy? What was your mental state at the time of the arrest? Were you embarrassed, angry, hurt, scared? These things could affect your ability to focus or concentrate on the field sobriety tests.
  17. Did you at any time ask for a lawyer? When and what was the response by the police officer?

Photo Credits:  Driving at night by Flickr: alancleaver_2000

Jon Bryant ArtzDUI and Criminal Attorney, Lecturer and Editorial Consultant

Mr. Artz has successfully defended in excess of 3000 DUI cases. He has tried to a jury more than 300 trials. He is also an editorial consultant for “California Drunk Driving Law”, a 2 volume treatise on DUI. He received his B.S. degree in ec...

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