It is crucial for people to understand their rights during a Prince William County DUI stop. Knowing your rights can protect you from facing charges and inconveniences. The Fourth Amendment gives people the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures during a DUI stop. That translates into a person’s right not to submit to any requested field sobriety tests, any preliminary breath tests, or any traffic detention whatsoever that is not based on reasonable suspicion of a violation of the law or of an immediate need for emergency assistance by a law enforcement officer. Even if supported by reasonable suspicion, a DUI stop cannot last longer than reasonably necessary to investigate the DUI or transform into an investigation for other non-DUI offenses without separate grounds of reasonable suspicion for those offenses.
A person is not allowed to lie to the police during a DUI stop or withhold their basic identifying information such as license and registration, but they are allowed to refuse to answer any other question such as how much they have had to drink, where they are driving to/from, why they think the officer pulled them over, and what else they might be carrying about their person or in their vehicle when pulled over.
The Fifth Amendment gives people the right to remain silent and not incriminate themselves. The Sixth Amendment gives individuals the right to an attorney.
The biggest mistake to avoid in DUI stops is to agree to take the field sobriety tests and/or preliminary breath tests without making a serious effort to perform well on them, with the expectation that officers will be open to letting people go or reducing the severity of the charge just because someone agreed to participate in the tests. Officers do not see someone’s participation as a favor in this way and are eager to use evidence of poor performance against someone even if their alcohol level is below the legal limit. The second biggest mistake to avoid during a DUI stop is believing that they have no legal choice to refuse the field sobriety tests as well as the preliminary breath test. Officers might even improperly order a suspect to do these things, but they are completely voluntary under the law. Another mistake to avoid is confusing one’s right to refuse the preliminary breath test with one’s obligation to submit to the intoxilyzer machine test at the police station. If the latter is refused, a person will end up with an additional refusal charge which carries potential license penalties worse than the underlying DUI charge itself. Call an accomplished lawyer for more information about a person’s rights during a Prince William County DUI stop and what mistakes individuals should avoid making.
The legality of a traffic stop itself is not affected by the reading of Miranda rights. Miranda rights are required to be read to someone upon being arrested for a crime if the prosecution later seeks to admit the person’s post-arrest statements against them in a future trial. If it is demonstrated that a person was not properly read their Miranda rights, then such statements can be prevented from becoming evidence against them. However, this only applies to actual verbal language uttered by the accused, as opposed to the alcoholic odor of an accused’s breath, or the alcohol-concentration of an accused breath or blood sample.
A person’s Fourth Amendment rights extend to being arrest. It is unconstitutional for a person to be arrested when officers do not have probable cause that an offense has been committed. Even if officers do have probable cause, the amount of force used to accomplish the arrest has to be reasonably appropriate, and a person has to be advised of their Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination if officers want to be able to use a suspect’s post-arrest statements as evidence against them in a later trial which were made in response to post-arrest incriminating questioning done by the police. If one does not wish to answer further police questions after being arrested or to do so without having an attorney present, one has the right to remain silent and/or request that an attorney be provided during post-arrest questioning.
If you have any questions about your rights during a Prince William County DUI stop, consult with a seasoned lawyer today.