What to Do When You Get Pulled Over
There is nothing more intimidating for a driver than to see the blue lights flashing behind them and a police officer signaling for them to pull over. Even if you have done absolutely nothing wrong, the experience can be very intimidating. If the officer pulling you over suspects that you are under the influence, it is important to understand and remember what your rights are at that point. The following are some tips from a DUI lawyer in Rockville, MD at the Law Office of Daniel J. Wright that anyone who has been stopped by law enforcement should remember.
The Officer Asks If You Have Been Drinking
If you have only had a drink or two, you may feel it is okay to answer yes to this question. No matter what the circumstances are, a driver should never admit to law enforcement they have had any alcohol at all. This will be used against the driver during any criminal proceedings that may take place as a result of that “confession.” However, it is also important not to lie to an officer. If you are asked by an officer if you have been drinking, you should respond by asking if you are being charged with anything. If they ask again, you should state that you would rather not say.
The Officer Asks You to Take a Field Sobriety Test
As a DUI lawyer can explain, field sobriety tests are often incorrect and a poor measure of whether a driver has been drinking. The tests require proper execution by the driver, which can be difficult even under the best of circumstances. For example, a person who has not been drinking at all may have a difficult time standing on one leg without having a shaky balance, but that result can lead an officer to believe the person is drunk. And that is another issue: field sobriety tests depend on the officer’s judgment.
The only test you are required by law to submit to is a chemical test. Because of implied consent laws, refusal to take the test could mean a loss of license depending on the state you are in at the time.
The Officer Asks to Search Your Vehicle
Law enforcement does not have the right to search your vehicle without your consent unless they have probable cause. This is why a driver should never consent to a search. If an officer believes there is some kind of incriminating evidence and you give your consent and they find that evidence, it can be used against you in a criminal case. However, if you do not provide consent and the officer searches anyways and finds the evidence, that officer must prove to the court that they did, indeed, have probable cause to conduct the search. This is one of the many situations where a DUI lawyer may be able to show through cross-examination of the officer that there was no probable cause and that evidence is then ruled inadmissible by the judge.
Fighting a DUI Charge
If you’re planning on fighting your DUI charges, a DUI lawyer can be a valuable ally. Most people may be aware of the fact that DUIs are expensive, but they usually underestimate how severely a DUI can disrupt their life, both financially and socially. Aside from the initial fine (which is usually several thousand dollars), those who have been charged with a DUI can expect much more difficulty for years or decades.
Aside from the financial impact, having a DUI on your record can make it much more challenging to find employment, earn security clearances, or even find housing. A qualified DUI lawyer can help you avoid years of hardship, so get in touch with one as soon as possible!