It’s a big mistake to get behind the wheel of your vehicle when you have been drinking for a few hours. The right thing to do would be to plan ahead and to have a ride set up. If you don’t plan properly, you might find yourself behind the wheel of your vehicle. Your impaired judgment will make this a dangerous ride if you start your car up. When you consume alcohol, your sense of responsibility is affected along with your reflexes and cognitive function. If you end up getting pulled over by the police, you could be in a difficult situation. Many people immediately admit to having a few drinks before getting behind the wheel. This will lead to a number of field sobriety tests. The next thing you know, you could be getting into the back of a police car and being read your rights. If you are in the unfortunate circumstance of getting pulled over for a DUI, there are some mistakes you should avoid making.
Admitting guilt doesn’t necessarily mean that you admit to being drunk. An officer might question whether you have had anything to drink or not. Even if you were drinking early in the evening and you know that you have long since sobered up, never admit that you’ve been drinking. Admitting it gives an officer just cause to proceed with field sobriety tests, a Breathalyzer test, or other means of examination. If an officer decides that he or she is going to take you down to the police station, don’t waive your Miranda rights. Don’t choose to plead guilty or no contest before speaking with a lawyer. This DWI and DUI article explains, “these are surefire ways to incriminate yourself before you have even gotten a fair chance. Your lawyer will be able to tell you how you should proceed with your case. Sometimes, pleading guilty will be the most beneficial route. However, you could also plead not guilty based on the evidence or lack thereof.”
Refusing to Take the Sobriety Tests
A police officer only needs to have a little bit of reasonable suspicion in order to stop your vehicle while you are on the road. It doesn’t take much for an officer to suspect that you might be guilty of a DUI. In order to arrest you as a DUI suspect, an officer will need more proof. The DUI investigation may be going on before you even realize it. This is why you should never admit fault to an officer. A number of tests may be requested by the officer. They might include things like:
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus test
- Finger to nose test
- Walk and turn
- One leg stand
- Alphabet test
Many people do not realize that it’s not illegal to turn down these sobriety tests. You are in no way legally required to take them. However, refusing to take a sobriety test is a mistake. If an officer asks you to do them, you do have the right to say no. That doesn’t mean that is your best option. According to this DUI lawyer, “drivers who refuse to undergo the Field Sobriety Test and/or a chemical test can be charged with DUI as well as obstruction of justice and the forfeiture of your driver’s license.”
The problem with field sobriety tests is that they aren’t always administered correctly. They should be explained and measured a very precise way in order for the results to be used against you. Because every police officer is different, a test may be explained differently each time that it is given. This alcohol recovery center explains, “there are other things that play a role in the results, such as weather conditions or different terrain. Just being nervous or anxious could also affect your results quite a bit. If you have an injury or physical impairment, this could affect your ability to perform these tests even if you are sober. If it happens to be 3 a.m., you may be sleepy and not overly coordinated to begin with.”
If you choose to take these tests, they will be used against you in the court of law. It ends up being your word against the police officer’s statement. That’s why it is incredibly important that you utilize the services of a reputable lawyer in your area who has experience with DUI cases. Your attorney will be able to look at your field test results, and he or she can figure out what to do from there.
If you have been arrested, you will be required to take a blood test or breath test. This test will determine what your blood alcohol content is. Depending on where you are pulled over, there will be a certain blood alcohol level that is a legal limit. Being over that limit will determine that you were not fit to be driving.
Not Requesting Legal Representation
During any criminal investigation, you have the right to speak with an attorney once you have been arrested. A lot of DUI suspects will not request a lawyer right away because they simply don’t know that they have this right. You don’t want to wait to speak to someone. Securing an attorney immediately</a> can make all the difference in your case. Your attorney will make sure that the process of your arrest is going the way that it should. You will be immediately advised on ways not to incriminate yourself. This legal information resource explains that “a law enforcement officer does not have the right to prevent you from getting a lawyer. You have the option to speak with your lawyer by phone, or you can speak with your lawyer in person. If anyone stands in your way during the process of securing legal representation, your entire case could be thrown out.”
It is important to remember that drinking and driving is never a responsible decision. However, everyone makes mistakes. If you are pulled over during this mistake, you should know that you have rights. Know the laws in your area so that you will know what to do in this type of situation. If at all possible, it’s always best to plan ahead when you know that you’ll be drinking so that you have a ride from a family member or friend. You can always call for a taxi or ride share if you need last-minute transportation.
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