You might decide to knock a couple of back after work or on the weekend. You feel fine enough to drive. Suddenly your world is turned upside down when you see those flashing lights in your rearview mirror. Panic takes over.
Although a DUI stop is an unsettling experience, understanding your rights can help you deal with a stressful situation. Even if the stop results in your arrest, you can still build a strong defense against drunk driving allegations.
The police and probable cause
A police officer must have a valid reason to pull you over. For example, if you were swerving over the road, the officer may suspect that you’re under the influence. This is enough reason for the officer to pull you over.
The initial stop may have nothing to do with suspected drunk driving. A broken taillight provides an officer with enough probable cause to stop your vehicle. If an officer does not have probable cause to make the stop, you can challenge any evidence related to the stop, including evidence that you were under the influence.
You can refuse to perform field sobriety tests
You may be asked to perform a series of field sobriety tests. You don’t have to agree to these tests. You will not face additional penalties for refusing to take these tests.
You can refuse a Breathalyzer test, though doing so is risky
The police will ask you to take a Breathalyzer test at the station. You may refuse to take this test. However, doing so will result in an automatic license suspension under Pennsylvania’s implied consent laws.
Protect and assert your rights
If you’re charged with a DUI, you should protect your rights. Assert your right to an attorney. Exercise your right to remain silent. Remain polite and respectful and discuss your defense options with a skilled professional.