Let’s say that you have been having a few drinks with your friends and you are ready to head home. As you are driving, you hear a police siren and see red-and-blue lights flashing behind you. A cop is about to pull you over and your blood alcohol content may be over the legal limit. In a situation like this, what can you do to protect your rights and avoid a DWI or DUI?
You Have The Right To Remain Silent
Nearly everyone has heard the phrase, “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can be used against you in a court of law.” These sentences are part of the Miranda warnings, which cops must say to suspects who are in police custody. It is very easy to inadvertently incriminate yourself when interrogated by a cop. Inform the officer that you are exercising your right to remain silent.
Do Not Permit Them To Search Your Vehicle
Police officers need a valid search warrant or probable cause that they will find evidence of a crime to search your car. Cops can also search your car if you grant your permission. Many people acquiesce, believing they will look suspicious if they decline. But if a police officer searches your car, then anything they find – including drugs, alcohol and firearms – can be used in a criminal case against you.
You Can Decline Certain Sobriety Tests
The cop may instruct you to take a breathalyzer test, various field sobriety tests or a blood test. You have the right to refuse all of these, though you may lose your license for up to one year for refusing a breathalyzer.
Police Must Follow Certain Procedures
Police officers must follow a certain set of procedures when they pull someone over. For example, before a cop administers a breathalyzer, they are supposed to inform you that you have the right to decline the breathalyzer, but that your license may be revoked as a consequence; that your test results or refusal to submit can be used as evidence in court; and that you have 30 minutes to contact an attorney or an acquaintance to witness the breathalyzer.
If the police officer does not follow the proper procedures, then the evidence they collect against you may not be admissible.
Always Request An Attorney
You have the right to request an attorney at any time during your conversation with the police officer, and you should request one immediately.