If police stop you for a DUI, you might be wondering what your rights are. In the heat of the moment, it can be difficult to know exactly what to do. Should you admit to drinking? Generally speaking, you should be respectful to the officer without giving any information about your prior experiences that evening. Don’t lie, but also don’t incriminate yourself. Should you submit to the breathalyzer? The answer to that is complicated.
What Are Your Rights?
You do have the right to refuse to submit to the breath or blood test. However, you could be arrested and taken to the station where the officer can get a warrant to force you to submit to chemical testing. You’ll just be delaying the inevitable if the officer suspects that you are intoxicated. Field sobriety tests are not required either. However, the officer may consider your refusal an admission of guilt.
An “implied consent law” makes this decision just a little more complicated too. In most states, when you get your license, you have consented to a chemical test if the officer suspects you have been driving under the influence. When you refuse the test at the scene, you are assumed to be guilty. At this point, your license will be suspended. If you are later found not guilty, you will still have to pay the fines to get your license reinstated.
The Decision Is Yours
Refusing a breathalyzer may make it more difficult to find you guilty later, but don’t think that the state can’t get a guilty verdict if you refuse the breathalyzer. A police officer cannot force you to take the breathalyzer. On the other hand, refusal to take the test may cost you your license. You have to make the best decision possible at the time.
A DUI has many consequences, some of which could affect you for a lifetime. If you are arrested for DUI, save all documents and information that you are given. Try to remember everything about the arrest and write it all down if possible. Then, talk to an experienced DUI lawyer about your situation to take the right steps in your situation for the best possible outcome.
If you have questions about your DUI, contact an attorney who can help you navigate the process. A DUI isn’t the end of the world, but you do need to protect your rights and take the best path.