No one wants to be pulled over and when it does happen, you want to be back on the road as soon as possible. That’s why so many people are willing to answer police questions in an effort to speed up the process. But if you are suspected of driving under the influence, answering police questions could just provide the officer with more evidence to use against you later. Instead, if you have any reason to believe a police officer could think you are drunk or high, you should follow these tips from attorney Peter M. Liss.
Know Your Rights
If you have been pulled over and the officer suspects you have been driving drunk, your best defense is a thorough knowledge of the law. By invoking your rights during an arrest, you will minimize the evidence against you in court, making your case that much easier for your drunk driving lawyer to fight.
You Have the Right to Remain Silent
While you should always be polite to the officer, never provide more information then you are legally required to give. You must provide information regarding your identity, which simply means telling him your name, address and nothing more. After offering your license and proof of insurance, tell the officer that you are invoking your right to silence. Do not answer questions about where you were, where you were going or whether you have been drinking.
You Are Not Required to Take Certain Tests
When the officer suspects you have been drinking, he may ask you to perform field sobriety tests or to submit to a preliminary alcohol screening device. It is important to know that unless you are under 21, these tests are completely optional. You have the right to refuse to take these tests and should refuse to take them unless you know for a fact you have no alcohol or drugs in your system. These tests are designed solely to provide the police with more evidence to use against you in a DUI case and taking them can make your case much harder for your drunk driving lawyer.
Submitting to a breathalyzer or blood test is not optional. You must choose one or the other. If you refuse, the police will get a search warrant for your blood and you will face a one year license suspension for a first DUI. While it is true you will go to jail if you choose blood over breath, most people are still going to be arrested and taken to jail after the breath result. The blood test takes longer because a phlebotomist must be called so the result is likely to be lower. There are also more legal challenges to be made later by your lawyer to a blood test than over a breath sample.
It is also worth noting that while minors are legally required to submit to PAS tests, even they have the right to refuse field sobriety tests.
You Have the Right to Choose a Blood or Breath Test
Once you’re placed under arrest, you are legally required to take either a breath or blood test. The decision is up to you and both tests have their advantages and disadvantages, so choose whatever you think is right for your situation.
Call Peter Liss as soon as you are arrested. While you will not be immediately granted a chance to contact your lawyer, this request will prove that you know your rights and are in control of your full mental faculties. As soon as you get an opportunity, call (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation.
Creative Commons Image licensed by Alex E. Proimos