Your Rights in a DUI Case
People who are stopped for DUI may be unaware of their rights, believing they’re required to comply with everything requested by law enforcement. Anyone stopped for drunk driving should understand his or her rights, which unfortunately can be ignored by police. Read on for information about your rights in a DUI case.
If you are stopped for DUI, the police must have reason to believe you are intoxicated, by observation of your behavior or your driving. Without probable cause, any information or evidence obtained by police during a suspected DUI stop is not permissible in court. For more information about what constitutes probable cause in DUI/DWI cases, consult with drunk driving defense lawyers in your state.
Miranda rights refer to a landmark case where courts ruled that law enforcement officers must advise suspects of their constitutional rights before further questioning. This includes “the right to remain silent.” If you are stopped for drunk driving, you should decline to answer questions, and ask to contact a DUI/DWI defense lawyer.
Chemical testing and observational testing are used by law enforcement to determine sobriety when stopping individuals on suspicion of drunk driving. Most DUI/DWI defense lawyers recommend that you submit to breath, blood, or urine tests, but advise against field sobriety tests such as balance or coordination, due to questions about their scientific integrity.
Don't Answer Questions
You are not required to answer law enforcement questions during a drunk driving stop, other than your name, identification, and proof of insurance. DUI/DWI defense lawyers recommend that you politely decline to answer all questions until you have a chance to contact your attorney.
Don't Admit Anything
Although you might feel intimidated by the presence of law enforcement during a DUI stop, remember that the law is on your side. You do not have to admit anything or answer any questions. You should ask to speak to a drunk driving defense lawyer, then remain silent.
Ask to Speak with an Attorney Immediately
If you have been stopped for suspected DUI, you should know that you are allowed to contact an attorney immediately. A confidential call to a qualified DUI lawyer before answering any questions is the best way to protect yourself in a DUI case.
Submit to Breath or Blood Alcohol Tests
In many states, harsh penalties are levied for refusing to take a breath or blood alcohol test if a police officer suspects you have been drunk driving. Most DUI/DWI defense lawyers recommend that you then submit to chemical tests, particularly if it is your first DUI stop.
Request Independent Samples
If you are stopped for DUI, police will take breath or blood alcohol tests. But you have the right to request additional tests from an independent source. Although authorities are not required to release you, the fact of your request may help your case. Remember to contact a DUI defense lawyer right away.
Request Release from Custody for an Independent Blood Test
If you believe that an independent blood test will help your case, you should request release from police custody. Proceed to a hospital and request a blood draw. Even if you pay out of pocket for this service, it is within your rights and may be worthwhile to help your case.
Contact a DUI/DWI Lawyer in Your State
Drunk driving arrests are fraught with procedural requirements that often get overshadowed in the heat of the moment. The most important thing to remember is that you have the right to request an attorney. If you are arrested for drunk driving, contact DUI/DWI defense lawyers in your state for legal guidance.