Your Rights When You are Pulled Over for a DUI
Feb. 7, 2023
In the Commonwealth of Virginia, driving or operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is prohibited. On suspicion of impaired or drunk driving, a law enforcement officer can pull your car over and ask you some questions. The officer may also request that you take some DUI tests, including field sobriety tests and chemical tests.
Surprisingly, many Virginia drivers are uninformed about their rights and responsibilities following a DUI stop. Due to this, many alleged drunk drivers often implicate themselves and might end up in the worst-case scenario. A strategic Virginia criminal defense attorney can inform you of your rights when stopped by the police for a DUI and help determine your best defenses.
At Bryan J. Jones, LLC, we give our all to handling criminal cases and representing clients facing DUI charges. Our reliable legal team can investigate all of the facts of your case, help you understand your rights with DUI tests, and strategize a solid defense to help fight your drunk driving accusations. We proudly serve clients across Charlottesville, Waynesboro, Fluvanna County, Louisa County, Greene County, and Albemarle County, Virginia.
You Have the Right to Not Incriminate Yourself
After a DUI stop, it is imperative that you follow the standard pull-over procedures. Provide the police with the required documentation, including your license, vehicle registration, and insurance information. Also, you should remain respectful and polite while you try not to incriminate yourself.
However, do not answer questions or provide additional information without the consent of your attorney. The police can ask you where you're coming from, who you were with, or the number of drinks you took. Generally, you don't have to answer any of these questions.
You Have the Right against Unlawful Search and Seizure
When pulled over for a DUI, the police are only allowed to search your car if there is probable cause to conduct a search and seizure. For example, they observed something that indicates criminal activity, saw or perceived liquor in your vehicle. Unless there is probable cause, the police officer cannot conduct a lawful search and seizure.
You Have the Right to Obtain a Copy of the Police Report
Additionally, the police report is crucial evidence in your drunk driving case. The report will contain the result of your sobriety test, blood test, PAS test, and breath test. Your attorney can request or obtain a copy of the police report from the local police department. Your legal counsel can review the police report and craft an effective defense strategy for your case.
You Have the Right to Refuse to Take Field Sobriety Tests
Field sobriety tests comprise three standardized tests – including the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test, the Walk-and-Turn Test, and the One-Leg Stand Test. Individuals in law enforcement often use these field sobriety tests to determine if a person is impaired.
Under Virginia law, field sobriety tests are not compulsory. You can definitely refuse to take a field sobriety test, and there are no punishments for refusal. Conversely, chemical tests at the station are mandatory in Virginia.
You Have the Right to Refuse the Preliminary or Portable Breath Test
Also, you can refuse the preliminary or portable breath test (PBT). However, the PBT is done by the roadside, and you should not confuse it with a breath test done at the police department. Essentially, there are no consequences for refusing a roadside preliminary alcohol screening (PAS).
Conversely, you must take the chemical tests ordered at the station after a lawful arrest. Refusing a breathalyzer test or blood test at the station is a violation of Virginia's implied consent law and may result in license suspension and other administrative penalties.
You Have a Right to Contact an Attorney
If a DUI stop leads to an arrest, you may be taken to the local police department for a custodial interview. Following a DUI arrest, you have the right to hire an attorney. However, you should remain silent throughout the interview or questioning to avoid incriminating yourself.
Also, you should always discuss with your lawyer first before you respond to any of the officer's questions. Your legal counsel can enlighten you about the nature and severity of your drunk driving charges and strategize your best defenses.
Speak With an Experienced Attorney
Facing DUI charges can be frightening, and a criminal conviction could possibly jeopardize your freedom, driving privileges, and future. However, knowing your rights after a DUI stop can make it easier to manage your case and ensure that you do not implicate yourself. Therefore, when arrested and charged with drunk driving, retaining a reliable DUI defense attorney is paramount for clear direction and to help build your defense.
We have the diligence and expertise to protect individuals wrongfully charged with DUI from the worst possible situation. As your legal team, we can identify inconsistencies during the chemical testing and dispute the accusations against you with overwhelming facts and evidence. Our loyal team will battle to uphold your freedom, protect your driving privileges, and attempt to keep your record clean.
Contact us at Bryan J. Jones, LLC, today to arrange a case evaluation with a seasoned criminal defense lawyer. Our reliable lawyers can help you navigate the Virginia DUI court and represent you intelligently in your case. We're proud to serve clients across Charlottesville, Waynesboro, Fluvanna County, Orange County, and Albemarle County, Virginia.