Virginia Criminal Defense Attorney
While being pulled over is often intimidating on its own, being pulled over and suspected of driving under the influence can be even worse. For this reason it is important that you know your rights and avoid any mistakes which would make it easier to charge you with a DUI. With this in mind, the following is information on your rights when pulled over and the biggest mistakes that people commonly make in DUI cases.
To learn more about DUI stops in general or to discuss specific aspects of your case call and schedule a consultation with a Fairfax DUI lawyer today.
If you are pulled over and a police officer suspects you to be driving under the influence you do not have to consent to the officers searching your car. Additionally, you do not have to take field sobriety tests, you do not have to blow in to the preliminary breath test, and you do not have to make any statements to police.
Those are your rights when stopped. Once you’ve been arrested those rights will change slightly but you still have the right to remain silent, and it is likely in your best interest to remain silent if possible. After being arrested you do not have the right to an attorney unless you’re being questioned and you request one, however, once the formal proceedings begin you have the right to contact an attorney.
For basic field sobriety tests and questioning during a DUI stop law enforcement does not need to read you your Miranda rights. Miranda warnings come into play when you’re in custodial interrogation, which simply means that law enforcement is interrogating you either in handcuffs in the car or when you’re in a jail cell at the precinct. For on-site investigations, however, Virginia case law is pretty clear that officers do not need to read you your Miranda warnings.
Typically during the DUI process you will not be able to speak to an attorney. With that said, if you request a lawyer in the middle of a DUI investigation the officer is not obligated to stop what they’re doing and get you an attorney. This, however, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t request an attorney, it simply means the officer has a job to do and they are permitted to complete their investigation without stopping everything so you can speak with an attorney.
The biggest mistake anyone can make an at DUI stop in Fairfax is agreeing to perform the field sobriety tests. There is no requirement that you take these tests and typically the only thing it does is provide evidence against you.
The second mistake that people commonly make at DUI stops is consenting to have their vehicle searched. You do not have to consent to your car being searched and in fact have a right to say no. This again can provide evidence against you unnecessarily such as if law enforcement finds a receipt from a bar, open containers, or other items that could be considered contraband.
The next mistake that people often make is admitting to alcohol consumption. Even saying you have only had a few drinks can end up hurting you and nothing you say is really going to keep an officer from doing an investigation. For this reason making any admissions are considered a bad thing, which is common in a DUI set.
The last big mistake that people tend to make at DUI stops is agreeing to blow in either preliminary tests or into the ultimate breath test at the station, which can be kept as evidence for prosecution. If you refuse to blow in the test at the station you can be charged with refusal (which will result in a license suspension of 1 year), however, if you are well in excess of the legal limit it is definitely a mistake to blow into the machine because it is admissible in court and will show you were over the limit.