If your daughter or son is starting college this fall, they may encounter new situations you hoped wouldn’t be part of their college experience. One of those is getting pulled over by police for suspected drunk driving.
Police officers can be intimidating to people of all ages, but certainly to teens. Often, we assume that we must comply with whatever they tell us to do. That’s not always the case. We all have legal rights and young people should learn how to assert those rights firmly but politely to avoid exacerbating their legal problems.
If an officer places you under arrest, however, it’s essential not to resist. Regardless of how unjust you believe the arrest to be, that’s a matter to be dealt with in court with the help of your lawyer. For the time being, you want to get through the situation without escalating matters or being harmed.
One American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) attorney reminds teens that the police are “the ones with the weapons, they’re the ones with the hand-to-hand combat training . . . so it doesn’t matter if you’re innocent; [it] doesn’t matter if you’re being arrested unfairly. Don’t resist — and that is less legal advice and more survival advice.”
Resisting arrest can also add charges to your DUI. You may be able to successfully fight the DUI, but if you’re on police video resisting officers, striking them or spitting on them, it may be hard to deny that you, at the very least, resisted arrest.
Equally important is not giving officers any reason to fear for their safety. We’ve all seen too many cases of police fatally shooting unarmed people because, at least according to the officers, they believed they were holding or reaching for a weapon.
Therefore, it’s essential that officers can see your hands at all times. If you’re in your car, keep them on the steering wheel where they’re visible. Even if they ask to see your license and registration, explain that it’s in the glove compartment, purse or wallet before reaching for it.
Of course, if someone has had a drink or two (or more), these precautions may be forgotten. That’s why it’s essential to ingrain them in your child to the point that they won’t completely forget or ignore them. If your child is arrested for DUI or other charges, it’s essential that they seek experienced legal guidance.