Being pulled over for suspected driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol can be a scary experience. What’s even worse is you have no idea what to do and what your legal rights are about a DUI traffic stop and arrest. For instance, when a police officer asks you to stop your car and step out from it to do some sobriety tests, you may not know whether you should do so or not.
Due to these circumstances, you must be familiar with everything you need to know about DUI traffic stops and arrests. These things can include:
1. The Police Should Have A Probable Cause To Stop You
When a police officer asks you to pull over for an alleged violation of the DUI laws in your state, they should have a probable cause. The absence of it can make the stop invalid and all their subsequent actions, including arrest, are unlawful.
Typically, the following are some situations that may constitute probable cause in the context of DUI laws:
- Making illegal turns
- Changing lanes without using signals
- Failure to maintain your road lanes
- Driving too slowly or overspeeding
- Acting erratically, including starting and stopping out of a sudden
As you can see, there can be several reasons why a police officer can demand a DUI traffic stop and get you arrested later on. But if they can’t provide a legitimate cause why they asked you to pull over, then your rights may have been violated. As such, you need the assistance of a dedicated DUI attorney to give you some valuable pieces of legal advice for your situation.
2. You May Be Forced To Take Field Sobriety And Breath Tests
In most cases, drivers suspected of DUI are required to pull over and take some field sobriety and breath tests. Essentially, the field sobriety tests are intended to determine whether intoxication has impaired your physical or cognitive functions. The police officer will ask you to stand using one leg as well as walk and turn.
On the other hand, the breath test is used to determine the blood alcohol content (BAC) inside your body. If you have poor performance on field sobriety tests and have a high BAC result, then the police officer may have the reason to arrest for DUI charges.
However, it’s important to know that these tests are subjective, which means they have higher chances of failure. That’s why if you’re forced to participate in these tests and you get arrested for the not-so-good results, you should call your attorney right away to know the next steps to take. By doing this, you can have someone who can defend you against the charges pressed.
3. You Have The Right To Remain Silent During Police Questioning
When the police demand a DUI stop from you in the middle of the road, it’s crucial to know you have the right not to answer every question from the police officer. Since most of these officers believe you’ve violated a traffic law, they’ll ask some incriminating questions to strongly establish probable cause and, in turn, arrest you for DUI.
Thus, to avoid further legal trouble, it’s best to explain to the investigating police officer that you want to exercise your right to remain silent. In doing so, you need to do this politely to prevent heated arguments with the officer and further jeopardize your situation.
4. You Should Hire A Lawyer For Legal Representation
Your DUI arrest isn’t the end of your life. Even if you’ve been arrested, it doesn’t automatically mean you’re convicted of the said criminal offense and waste your life forever. A principle in law provides that a person accused of a crime will remain innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Because of this, you need solid legal representation from an experienced lawyer who can fight for your rights and interests in a court of law. A DUI lawyer can help build your case by determining whether the traffic stop and arrest are illegal for whatever reasons. From there, they’ll gather some pieces of evidence and set up a solid defense strategy to get your charges reduced or dropped altogether.
Generally, DUI cases can be complicated and confusing, especially if you get convicted and face several legal consequences. These can include paying expensive fines and penalties, suspension or revocation of driver’s license, installing an ignition interlock device, jail time, criminal record, and many more.
Therefore, if you want to handle this legal matter more effectively, keep these things in mind, and you’ll be confident with your actions. Remember, the more you know what to do, the better you’ll navigate your case from start to finish.