The police are charged with protecting the public from danger. While they are on duty, cops often must use their best judgment and determine what people to detain and what ones to let go. When you have been pulled over for a suspected DUI offense, you may become angry and frustrated by the traffic stop. However, before you become belligerent with the cop who pulled you over, you should know your rights, as well as those of the police officer if he or she decides to administer breathalyzer tests or field sobriety tests.
For example, one attorney that specializes in drunk driving defense New Jersey based has had cases thrown out. Knowing your rights and what the police officer can rightfully require of you can help you protect yourself legally.
Law enforcement can actually pull you over at any time if they suspect you are driving while intoxicated. If they spot you weaving in and out of traffic, braking suddenly, forgetting to use your signals, or engaging in any number of reckless driving behaviors, the police can stop you and determine if you are under the influence. When they pull over you, however, the police can legally:
• Let you know why you have been pulled over.
• Ask for your license, registration, and proof of insurance.
• Arrest you if you become belligerent or they can smell alcohol on your breath.
• Question you about whether or not you have been drinking or using drugs prior to driving.
• Ask you to get out of the car and handcuff you if they perceive you to be a threat to their safety.
While they have these legal rights, you also have rights that you can invoke during your DUI traffic stop. If you are pulled over by law enforcement, you can protect yourself by knowing your rights and protecting yourself until you can retain counsel. Your rights during a traffic stop for on a suspected DUI include:
• Refusing to answer questions until you have retained counsel.
• Refusing a field sobriety test. You are not required to undergo any field testing for your level of sobriety. If you refuse, however, you can be taken to the police station for questioning or refusing to cooperate with the police.
• Refusing to let the police search your car. Some states give you this right; however, before you invoke this right, you should check with your state laws and determine if the police can or cannot legally search your car without your consent.
Knowing law enforcement’s limitations and the laws pertaining to DUI traffic stops in your state can help you fight a DUI charge in court. Many legal experts, for example, continue to debate the legality of field sobriety tests. They argue that too many outside factors could taint the test’s results. Further, cops often receive no specialized training directly related to giving field sobriety tests, breathalyzers, and being able to tell if a person has a BAC over the legal limit at the time of the traffic stop. These questions can help you get your DUI charge thrown out of court and allow you to redeem your driving record.
While the police have the duty of keeping the public safe from a variety of threats, they do not have total freedom to question or detain you if they suspect you are driving while intoxicated. You can protect yourself and fight your DUI charge by knowing your rights, as well as law enforcement’s limitations, if you are pulled over on suspicion of this offense.
Having a DUI conviction can affect you financially and emotionally, as writer Melanie Fleury experienced when a family member was arrested. Having an attorney that specializes in DUI, like Levow & Associates who specialize in drunk driving defense New Jersey based, can help to get your case thrown out or charges lessened.