I have written a very detailed blog post on why everyone should absolutely, always, and without exception refuse the breathalyzer and standardized field sobriety tests everywhere in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
However, I've decided to compile a list of tips on what one can do to minimize their chances of getting a DUI while they are being examined and questioned by a Kentucky law enforcement officer.
- First, we always start with the easiest tip: Do not drink and drive anywhere in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. While it is not against the law to have a drink and then drive, you must be below the legal limit, which is 0.08 in Kentucky, and you must not be impaired while operating your motor vehicle.
- By law, you are only required to present the officer with your Kentucky Operator's License, motor vehicle registration and proof of motor vehicle insurance. You do not need to strengthen the Commonwealth's case by giving the officer additional evidence that will later be used to convict you of DUI - that means: no talking, no answering questions, no breathing in the officer's direction, and no looking in his or her direction. If possible, do not even make eye contact, and under no circumstances are you to engage the officer.
- Upon contact with the Officer, you will be questioned before any arrest is made. During this phase, you are not in custody for Miranda purposes, and should politely refuse to answer any of the investigating officer’s questions, before or after the arrest (since not answering the officer's questions will not likely save you from an arrest, but will definitely not help the prosecution's case in court). That way, there will not be any incriminating statements that can be used against you in Court.
- Acrobatics or gymnastics, also known as Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs), are optional and completely voluntary. If you do try to perform this dog and pony show for the officer, you may be arrested anyway - even if you do them well! Many officers have a running joke at their station that none of them can complete the tests themselves, given the circumstances they give the tests in. It is better not to give the investigating officer any evidence that will be used against you in court. You can politely refuse to do any FSTs and the officer cannot force you to do them.
- Politely refuse to blow into any hand-held gadget, aka, the preliminary breath testing device (PBT). This test is also completely voluntary and you have the right to refuse this type of breath test at the scene of the stop, in the officer's cruiser, or on the way to the station.
- While at the police station, call someone you know (or a DUI defense attorney) as soon as possible so they can hear you speak and note of any state of sobriety and give you legal advice, if possible. You are supposed to get 10-15 minutes to make a call from the County Jail.
- When asked to blow into the Intoxilyzer 5000EN, you have a choice: a) refuse, be marked as a refusal and surrender your license, or b) blow and risk having a result above a 0.08. I still recommend refusing (unless you are a pilot or a CDL license holder).
- Behave and be respectful at all times to the police. How you are perceived by a jury is very important and rude or crude behavior will diminish your chances of winning in Court, especially if there is a video recording showing said behavior.
- Write down the chronological list of everything that happened before being contacted by the police up to and including your release from jail.
- Research & Google possible Kentucky DUI defense attorneys to represent you. A qualified DUI attorney will look for positive facts in your case in order to properly present the best strategy in Court hearings and at jury trial.