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Why It’s Important to Understand Your Rights at a DUI Stop

Know Your Rights at DUI Stop

If the police think alcohol or drugs are involved, a traffic stop can be anything but routine, and it can have serious consequences for your driving and criminal records if you do not know your rights. 

Stop Your Car as Soon as It's Safe 

You do need to stop your car if an officer is trying to pull you over at a traffic stop, but you do not need to do so until it is safe. You do not need to risk damage to your car or putting the officer in harm's way merely to pull over quickly. 

You Must Provide Your ID 

Failing to provide your driver's license or ID can get you into unnecessary trouble with the law and your local DMV. Although you might feel inclined to hide your ID to make it more difficult for the officer to charge you, the result will simply mean you receive additional charges for your failure to produce your license 

You Have the Right to Remain Silent 

Although the officer who stops you will ask seemingly conversational questions, these questions are often tailored so that you incriminate yourself. The officer might ask where you are coming from or if you had anything to drink. Depending upon your answers to these questions, your words could later be used against you in court. 

Roadside Tests are Voluntary 

Although it is easy to assume that roadside tests are required part of the traffic stop, they are actually voluntary. You are not required to participate in them and risk giving the officer more evidence to use against you. You should also be aware that many roadside tests are inapplicable for people over a certain Body Mass Index or who have difficulties walking since these people are likely to fail the tests even when sober. 

If you have not been arrested, you can also refuse to take a breathalyzer test. Once again, do not give officers more evidence to use against you unless you are required to do so. 

You Must Take a Chemical Test Once Arrested 

Although the officer cannot require you to take a breathalyzer or blood test before an arrest, you must take the test after being arrested. You have the right to ask for a blood test or urinalysis, instead of a breathalyzer, as these tests can take several days or weeks for results to come back. This usually means that the officer's report will be more objective because the officer will not know how much alcohol you have in your system. 

Remembering this and your other rights can ensure that you get the fairest trial possible and that your own words or actions are not used against you in court.