Birmingham DUI: The Importance of Being Courteous

Posted by Steven Eversole | Sep 11, 2012 | 0 Comments

A 41-year-old Alabama man suspected of drunk driving confronted a police officer who had been following behind him with curses and expletives – and it landed him in handcuffs.

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What made this case even more cringe-worthy, though, was that the officer hadn't even pulled him over. According to The Birmingham News, the officer had been tailing the driver for reportedly driving left of center. This prompted the driver to abruptly stop and unleash a torrent of abuses on the officer, demanding to know why he was being followed.

In effect, Birmingham DUI defense lawyers understand, the drunk driver stopped the officer.

He may have ended up in handcuffs regardless, but his lack of courteousness toward the officer certainly did not help his case. And here's the truth: It almost never does.

It seems like something so simple, but minding your manners can make a big difference in DUI cases. It's true that it may not stop the officer from arresting you. But even if he does so it's important for you to maintain your cool, understand that you do have avenues for recourse and that this isn't the time for it.

For one thing, officers in Alabama have a great deal of discretion with regard to whether and how they charge you. If the suspect is being belligerent or rude throughout the course of the stop, it only gives credence to the theory that they are highly intoxicated. This is because it's contrary to how you would expect a person to act when they are sober. Most sober individuals don't go around picking fights with authority figures who carry guns and have the power to make arrests.

Plus, the fact is, police officers are human too. If you are rude or disrespectful, they are certainly not above a petty move to make life a little more difficult for you. They can do this with anything from squeezing those handcuffs a little tight to stacking on additional charges that they may not have filed if you were being polite.

Of course, this is not to say that an officer will never provoke you or be rude to you from the start. While we expect our officers to behave with the strictest of professionalism, again, they are human. What you should not do is return that attitude with a bigger one. It almost never goes well.

We certainly understand the stress of the situation. We know this was not how you had intended for the night to go, and the officers may even have been unjustified in making a stop or an arrest. What you need to keep in mind is that those are things that your defense attorney will handle.

When you are impolite to the officer, you are only giving him or her more ammunition against you. That's because not only might you be displaying behavior that could be described in official reports as “agitated” or even “aggressive,” the more talking you do the more evidence you may be providing the officer, who will be noting your speech, your mannerisms, your tone, your choice of words, your posture. In fact, everything you say and do can be used against you in court.

Don't give an officer any more evidence against you or reason to stack the charges.


If you have been arrested for DUI in Birmingham, call Defense Lawyer Steven Eversole at (866) 831-5292.

Additional Resources:
Suspected drunk driver arrested after he stopped Jefferson County sheriff's deputy, By Carol Robinson, The Birmingham News

More Blog Entries:
Can a Straight Glass Help You Avoid a Birmingham DUI? Sept. 4, 2012, Birmingham DUI Lawyer Blog

About the Author

Steven Eversole

J.D., Samford University's Cumberland School of Law, Birmingham, Alabama B.A., University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

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