After having a couple of beers at the bar and being stopped by a police officer on the way home can be a very stressful situation even though you have actually not violated any operating while intoxicated (OWI) law in Iowa. Some police officers do not realize that it is not illegal for you to drink and drive; it is illegal to drink too much and drive. When an officer says he smells alcohol in your car, this usually means that he believes you have bloodshot-watery eyes and slurred speech. It should importantly be noted that it is not illegal to smell like alcohol; it is illegal to drink too much alcohol and drive in Iowa. What the officer will do is tell you that it smells like alcohol in the vehicle. He will wait for your response. You should not say anything because he did not ask you a question. He will then ask you where you had been earlier that night. You should kindly say, "I am not going to answer that question, and I want to speak to my lawyer." The officer will also ask you on a 1-10 scale with "1" being tipsy and "10" being completely hammered, what would you rate yourself. You should kindly say, "I am not going to answer that question; I want to speak to my lawyer." This is how you should answer all of the officer's remaining questions. You should be cooperative and provide the officer with your licenses, registration, and insurance. Remember should the officer decide to charge you with an OWI, the jury will see how you reacted during the stop should the matter proceed to trial. The jury does not like seeing people who are yelling and cussing at the officer. This is usually a good sign that a person is intoxicated. Simply put, you should keep your cool. The officer will also ask you whether you would like to take field sobriety tests; you should kindly say that you are refusing the tests and ask for a lawyer.
Remember the more you do for the officer, the more evidence you provide the State with at trial that you are intoxicated. Just think if you have only had one or two beer at the bar and you slip up during the one-leg-stand test or trip on a crack during the walk-and-turn test. It is very wise to refuse all of the field sobriety tests. Or just think if you try to answer the officer's question regarding your intoxication on a 1-10 scale, with "1" being tipsy and "10" being completely hammered. If you answer that question with a number, there is not a good answer.
When the officer decides to arrest you based off the smell of alcohol in the car and your "bloodshot-watery eyes and slurred speech" make sure you stay calm, appear polite, and kindly say you need an attorney. Upon arrival at the police station for your OWI, you should requests multiple phone calls to your family and friends so that they can post bail for you in the morning. You should also request to speak with an attorney so that they can advise you of whether or not you should blow into the datamaster.
Should you have any questions regarding the OWI process do not hesitate to contact the Feld Law Firm at 515-802-7676 to schedule your free consultation. An OWI/DUI defense attorney will happily advise you of your rights and the Iowa OWI process.