Understanding Your Rights When Stopped For DUI

Posted on: 10 September 2015

It's a well understood convention that operating a vehicle while under the influence of intoxicants, such as alcohol or prescription pain relievers is a crime, punishable under the laws of all U.S. cities. Tdoesn't mean your civil rights change simply because you happen to be intoxicated. There is a right way and a wrong way to deal with this situation, and there are a few simple ways to make the entire process easier on you.

Testing Used to Establish Probable Cause for Arrest

While a blood alcohol level of 0.08 is considered legally intoxicated, the number of alcoholic beverages necessary to reach that level varies based on weight. By and large, if you've had two or more drinks and you get behind the wheel of a car, you're at risk of being charged with DUI. Even before the officer asks you if you've had anything to drink that night, be honest with yourself at least. Just remember, the Fifth Amendment allows you to decline to answer any and all questions directed at you during an official interaction with law enforcement.

Many standard field sobriety tests can also be refused under the Fifth Amendment, but this does not apply to legitimate BAC testing, such as the Breathalyzer test. Due to the fact that operating a vehicle is not a protected right, law enforcement officials can order you to submit to a breath analysis to determine BAC. It's in your best interest to comply with this order, since refusal can carry with it hefty fines, penalties and jail time, regardless of the eventual result.

Guilty or Not

Regardless of your intoxication level, you have the right to request an attorney be present during any official interaction with police. Invoking this right during the course of a DUI stop will really only have two possible outcomes. You're either going to be arrested on the spot, taken in for processing, and held until a hearing takes place, or you'll be let off with a warning. It's a gamble, so make sure it's one you're willing to lose.

If you've already complied with a breath analysis, make sure you are allowed to see the result as soon as it's generated.  You have the right to view the evidence against you in any criminal case, and that doesn't change just because you happen to be involved in a DUI investigation. While it may not stop you from being arrested, it can be used as part of your testimony during any legal proceeding later.

There is no completely effective way to avoid a DUI arrest other than simply not drinking and driving. Know your rights, accept the consequences of your choices, and you'll have a far less harrowing experience. With the right DUI attorney, you'll have a good chance of minimizing the penalties levied against you as a result of this lapse in judgement. Click here for more info.