Approximately 1.5 million Americans are arrested every year for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you were at your local bar, a friend's wedding, or a dinner party, you might get behind the wheel while intoxicated, even though this is never a prudent idea. Unfortunately, even if you've only drunk a small amount, it will influence your skills behind the wheel, which can catch the attention of a skilled police officer.

Getting pulled over on suspicion of a DUI can be scary. However, if you don't know how to act and protect yourself while interacting with the officer, it can make a bad situation even worse. Here are a few DUI do's and don'ts.

Do Learn About the DUI Laws in Idaho

The DUI laws in Idaho are strict, and if you are caught driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs, you will suffer some stiff penalties. For example, if you are pulled over and whether or not you agree to a breathalyzer, and it is your first offense, you could face some very serious consequences, including a suspended license, jail time, and a fine that will not exceed $1000.

If you are convicted of a DUI within five to 10 years after your initial DUI conviction, the penalties become far more severe. In some cases, if you have several DUIs in a 10-year span, you could wind up spending several months in jail or perhaps years in prison.

Do Pull Over as Quickly as Possible

If you're driving and suddenly see the familiar flashing red and blue lights and hear the siren of a police vehicle, your first instinct might be to pull over immediately, no matter where you are. However, the best option is to instead pull off in an area that well-lit that will allow the officer to safely walk toward your vehicle and speak to you through the window.

If you are on a busy freeway or highway, you may need to drive a while for this to happen. In this case, turn on your emergency flashers, which signals the officer that you have acknowledged you are being pulled over.

Once it's safe to pull on the side of the road, do so, and immediately turn off your ignition and wait for the officer to approach. While you're sitting inside the car, keep your hands on the steering wheel and wait for the officer to tap on your window. Even if the officer seems to be taking a long time to get out of their vehicle, it is never advisable to step outside of your car and approach the police vehicle.

The officer might take this as a sign of aggression, and you could wind up being in more trouble than if you had patiently waited in your vehicle for several minutes.

Do Have the Necessary Documents Readily Available

You are waiting patiently in your vehicle with your hands clearly visible awaiting the sight of the police officer. Once they approach the vehicle, lower the window after they ask you to. Wait for the officer to speak before you speak. The officer will ask for your driver's license, proof of insurance, and vehicle registration. It is critical to have these in an easily accessible place, such as inside your glove compartment or center console.

Let the officer know where the documents are in your vehicle and slowly remove them from the compartment. Hand them to the officer and await further instructions. The officer will then head back to their cruiser to ensure the information you provided is accurate.

Don't Argue with the Police Officer

One of the biggest mistakes many drivers make when addressing a police officer is speaking in a disrespectful tone, acting belligerent, or questioning everything the officer says. This is a bad idea, and instead, it's important to remain calm and courteous.

Always address the officer with a "sir" or "ma'am." You are under no obligation to admit that you have been drinking or taking drugs. If you do not feel comfortable answering any of the officer's questions, you can politely decline. For any questions you can answer without admitting guilt, always use a simple "yes" or "no."

Finally, although it carries a stiff penalty, you can refuse a BAC or another roadside test. However, keep in mind that there are repercussions for doing so.

Don't Go Through the DUI Process Alone

When all is said, and done, if you are arrested, your first step should be to call an attorney. Your attorney can help guide you through the rest of the process, including being released from jail and preparing your defense. Never try to take on this confusing task alone, and instead, utilize the skills of a trained and knowledgeable attorney.

Being pulled over for a DUI can be a scary experience. If you ever find yourself in this situation, don't hesitate to contact the professionals at Hart Law Offices, P.C .