Your Rights When You Are Pulled Over for a DUI
March 22, 2023
As U.S. citizens, we take for granted that we’ll always retain certain rights, even under the most distressing circumstances. Specifically, just because you’ve been accused of a crime or even arrested, you’re still able to exercise your civil rights and be protected by them. One such instance where you might encounter this is during a traffic stop for suspected drunk driving. Knowing my rights when being pulled over for a DUI is one of the most important things to learn because it can have a direct effect on the outcome of your case.
To speak with a criminal defense attorney about a recent DUI you’ve received, call E. Gordon Peters, Jr., Attorney at Law. Attorney Gordon has the resources and knowledge to strategically fight for your rights. He is able to represent clients in Lynchburg, Blackstone, Virginia, as well as Amherst County, Campbell County, Bedford County, Nottoway County, Prince Edward County, and Charlotte County.
You Have the Right to Not Incriminate Yourself
This is one of the most important things to learn anytime you’re accused or arrested for a crime. Basically, this means you don’t have to tell the officer you were or were not drinking and driving. You’re allowed to abstain from answering the officer’s questions, but you should always be respectful, and courteous, and give the officer the required documentation they request, such as your license, insurance information, and registration. However, you don’t have to offer additional information. If the officer asks you where you were, who you were with, or whether you’ve been drinking, you can politely tell them that you’ve been advised not to answer any questions.
You Have a Right to Obtain a Copy of the Police Report
Anytime you’re pulled over and issued a charge or citation, you have a right to receive a copy of this. You and your lawyer should review this document to ensure it’s accurate since this will be used against you in court.
Right Against Unlawful Search and Seizure
The Fourth Amendment protects you from unlawful searches and seizures, and this includes searching your person or car. An officer needs probable cause in order to search your car without your consent, and if they do search your car unlawfully, you may be able to have any evidence they found deemed inadmissible in court.
You Have a Right to Refuse to Take Field Sobriety Tests
Field sobriety tests are one way that officers assess your level of impairment, but these are optional, and you do not have to consent to them. These tests are notoriously flawed and can give inaccurate results, especially if they aren’t administered correctly.
You Have the Right to Refuse the Preliminary or Portable Breath Test
Every driver gives something called “implied consent” when they operate a vehicle in Virginia, and this means that if you’re pulled over for a DUI, you have to submit to a breath test. However, this shouldn’t be confused with a handheld, portable breath test that most officers carry in their cars. You can refuse to take a portable test, but you cannot refuse to take a breath test or other chemical tests administered at the police station without a penalty.
You Have a Right to Contact an Attorney
You can and should contact an attorney as soon as possible after being arrested for a DUI. The possible consequences for a DUI conviction can be far-reaching, and you want to do everything in your power to defend yourself against the charge. Only an experienced lawyer can accurately evaluate your specific case and then build a defense that best meets your needs.
Understand Your DUI Rights
If you’re in Lynchburg or Blackstone, Virginia, and would like to learn more about your rights when pulled over for a DUI, reach out to E. Gordon Peters, Jr., Attorney at Law. Attorney Gordon has an abundance of knowledge, practice, and resources to help you look toward a brighter future.