Sometimes it feels like you need a law degree to understand your rights during a DUI stop, but what you’re required to do during a stop is actually limited. The police may want you to think that you have to do everything they say and answer all of their questions, but this isn’t true. There are a few police requests you need to follow, but in many circumstances, you’re allowed to refuse and remain silent.
Here are the 10 key facts you need to remember if you’re pulled over for a DUI. If you have questions about a stop or an arrest, contact the Lansing DUI and OVI defense attorneys of DeBruin Law at (517) 324-4303.
- You must show your license, registration, and proof of insurance.When the police stop you, whether they believe you have been drinking or pull you over for a moving violation or vehicle malfunction, they will generally ask for your basic information. You should comply with this basic request since you need to show you have a valid license and insurance. Inability to prove this could result in other charges.
- You can remain silent.You do not have to answer any other questions. If they suspect drunk driving they may ask if you have been drinking tonight or where you have been. You can remain silent or calmly inform the officers that you are invoking your right to remain silent.
- Anything you say can be used against you.Anything you say can be misconstrued and used against you in court. Do not admit to anything, even saying you had one drink earlier that day. It is common for the officer to wear a microphone and record the conversation. Whatever you say will be on the record and can be evidence against you in court. This is why it is often best to be polite but invoke your right to silence until you have your lawyer present.
- You must exit the car if asked to do so.If the police suspect you of drunk driving, they will often ask you to step out of the vehicle. Under the law, you are obligated to leave the car if a police officer asks you to. If you refuse, the police can arrest you.
- You don’t have to take a field sobriety test.Once you exit the car, the police may want to conduct a field sobriety test. You do not have to submit to any of these tests or answer any further questions. You can politely refuse and state that you are revoking your right to remain silent. There is no punishment for refusing to submit to a sobriety test.
- The police can require a breath test.If the police ask you to take a breath test, you should comply. Illinois has an implied consent law, which means as someone with a valid driver’s license, you already agreed to submit to a breath test. Refusing can lead to an additional charge and a license suspension. Additionally, the U.S. Supreme Court recently upheld that the police do not need a warrant to conduct a breath test.
- You don’t have to submit to a blood test.A blood alcohol test is different than a breath test under the law. You do not have to automatically consent to a blood test. The U.S. Supreme Court determined that warrantless blood tests are illegal. While you can consent to a blood test without a warrant, you are not required to. Remember that the results of a blood test can be used against you in court.
- The police can search you or your car if they have probable cause.In general, the police do not automatically have the right to search your person or your car and you do not have to consent to them looking in the car, glove box, or trunk. However, if they have probable cause to do so, they can. For instance, if they see open bottles of alcohol in the car, they can search the vehicle for other evidence of drunk driving.
- You may ask if you are free to go.At any time during your stop, you may ask the officer if you are under arrest or if you are free to go. Ask these questions calmly and politely. The police cannot detain you for an extended period of time. They can stop you, ask you some questions, give you a breath test if there is reasonable cause, and then determine whether you are under arrest or not. If the stop is lasting an extended period of time, you can ask if you are free to go. If the officer says no, ask if you are under arrest. If the officer says no, leave slowly and calmly.
- Do not resist arrest.It is likely that you’ll disagree with an officer’s decision to arrest you, but you should not resist. Resistance in any form, like yelling, moving away from the handcuffs, or running away can lead to additional charges. That is not the time to argue that the police are wrong. You will be able to fight the charge later in court with an attorney.
Contact a Lansing Criminal Defense Attorney
If you were arrested for a DUI or OWI, call the attorneys of DeBruin Law at (517) 324-4303 right away. Your attorney will go over the stop and arrest with you to determine if the police behaved properly or if any of your rights were violated. If there was any improper conduct, the attorneys of DeBruin Law will work to have evidence suppressed or your charges dropped.