What Happens If I Get Pulled Over for DUI with a Loaded Gun in My Car?
Getting pulled over by a Kentucky police officer for drunk driving can be a stressful experience to say the least, especially if you happen to have a loaded gun in your vehicle.
What should you do in such a situation? Let us take a detailed look:
Maintain a Calm Demeanor
As difficult as it might be for you, it is very important to stay calm in such situations. You should not say or do anything that can be perceived as hostile behavior by the officer.
More importantly, even if you get charged for DUI, it does not mean you will definitely get convicted. Depending on the circumstances that led to your arrest, an experienced DUI defense attorney might be able to have the charges against you reduced or dropped altogether. So, there is no need for you to panic as soon as you are asked to pull over by a police officer.
The Right to Carry Firearms in Kentucky
Kentucky is one of the 16 constitutional carry states in the country, which means you are allowed to carry a loaded or an unloaded weapon – on your person or in your vehicle – without any permit or license, as long as you are over the age of 21.
Under Kentucky law, you are prohibited from carrying a weapon only if you have been convicted of a felony before. Federal laws, however, prohibit the following groups of people from owning firearms.
- People who have been convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors
- People who have been accused of domestic violence and served with a restraining order
- Alcohol and drug abusers
- People who suffer from mental disorders and have been institutionalized before
- Undocumented immigrants
What this means is that as long as you are not explicitly prohibited from owning a firearm, you do not have to worry about having a loaded gun in your vehicle.
At the same time, you need to understand that carrying a loaded gun with you while you are drunk or under the influence of drugs is very irresponsible behavior. It can put your own life as well as the lives of those around you at risk. So, make sure you do not drink and drive, especially if you have a gun in your vehicle.
What to Do When the Police Officer Approaches You
First of all, you are not required to voluntarily disclose to the police officer that you have a loaded gun in your vehicle. If the gun is in your vehicle’s storage compartment, there is no need for you to tell the officer that you have a gun with you.
If, on the other hand, the officer directly asks you whether you have a gun in your vehicle, do not lie to them. Similarly, if the gun is in plain view, the officer might notice it and simply ask you to keep your hands on the steering wheel while questioning you.
Do not, under any circumstances, reach for your gun while the officer is talking to you. It will almost certainly be perceived as a hostile action by the officer. It is the last thing you want to happen when you are pulled over for DUI.
The Right to Talk to a Lawyer
If the officer asks you any question – where you are coming from, where you are headed, whether you have been drinking, whether you have a permit for your gun, and so on – do not respond. Aside from providing the officer with the information they need – your license, registration, and insurance details – you are not legally required to answer any of their questions.
Your only response to their questions should be that you would like to talk to your lawyer. You will be given anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes to call your lawyer. Use this window of opportunity to explain the situation to your lawyer and follow their instructions carefully.
Do not talk to the police officer or the prosecutor for any reason, even if they appear to be very earnest. Remember – their job is to prosecute you and convict you. Your lawyer is the only person who is legally required to protect and fight for your constitutional rights and best interests.
Legal Help for Kentucky Residents Facing DUI Charges
If you are a Kentucky resident who has been charged for DUI, you need an experienced DUI lawyer who can aggressively defend you and make sure that your rights are not violated by the prosecution at any point.
Ron Aslam is a Louisville-based criminal defense attorney who has more than a decade of experience defending the rights of people who have been charged with DUI and other, more serious crimes. Ron has previously served as a prosecutor, and he is aware of the legal strategies that prosecutors use to build their cases. He now uses this experience and knowledge to build robust defense strategies for his clients.
You can contact the Ron Aslam Law Office at 502-581-1676 to get a clear idea of the legal options you have regarding the charges you are facing.