Tickin Minute June 27, 2016 – 10 Things to Remember During a DUI Stop
10 Things to Remember During a DUI Traffic Stop
In this week’s Ticktin Minute, TTLG attorney Bruce Burk kicks off his series of posts relating to DUI with his 10 Things to Remember During a DUI Traffic Stop. Burk, a former assistant state attorney, currently practices Criminal Defense, Mortgage Foreclosure Defense, Personal Injury, Estates, Wills & Trusts, Business Litigation, and Employment Law.
1. The Stop: The first thing you should remember is that all DUI traffic stops have to be done in a constitutional manner, meaning that you must be pulled over for recognized civil traffic violation or criminal offense. Merely waiving between the lines may not necessarily enough to pull someone over.
2. Be Respectful: Remember that the police are just people doing their job. Additionally, as many departments across the country are equipping their officers and vehicles with cameras, you should always act as if everything that is happening is being recorded on video and could be viewed by a judge or jury. You want to be respectful. Say yes sir or yes ma’am.
3. Vehicle Searches: You are entitled to refuse consent of a search of your vehicle. The police cannot search your vehicle unless they can see evidence of a crime inside the car. (e.g. drug paraphernalia, open containers of alcohol, weapons, et c.)
4. Drug Sniffing Dogs: It is constitutional for a drug sniffing dog to walk around your vehicle and sniff for drugs. The use of these dogs are heavily regulated and in some cases where the dog is not trained properly, you may have grounds to have your case dismissed.
5. Make known Medical Issues that Affect Balance: Field Sobriety tests are designed to test if you are drunk. But there is more than one reason someone might sway a little bit when walking a line. If you have had surgery recently, are taking any medication or any other issues you believe may affect your balance or ability to complete the test, make sure to bring it to the officer’s attention.
6. Miranda and Informed Consent: You have right to be read miranda and be informed of your constitutional rights. For a DUI, this is done after what is called informed consent is read. Informed consent informs you of the effect of refusing to perform field sobriety tests. Take out your driver’s license right now and read the bottom of it. Ever noticed that? Failure to comply may result in suspension of your license for one year. After that, the officer must read you miranda if they are placing you under arrest.
7. Instructions for Field Sobriety Test: The police must instruct you on how to perform field sobriety tests. However, this is often done at night, under stress, with noise around you. Make sure to get the full amount of instructions and clarify anything you do not understand. Every little thing you do, including how you count, your posture, your ability to understand the instructions is being observed and considered.
8. Back of the Cop Car: Remember, in the event that you get cuffed and placed in the back of a cop car, you are being filmed. What you say and how you say it can be used against you in court. The best thing to do is keep quiet and remain calm.
9. Invoke Constitutional Rights Immediately: If you hear the words “you are under arrest,” the first words out of your mouth after the officer reads your Miranda Warning should be something very similar to “I am going to remain silent and I want to speak to an attorney.” After you say these words, you have invoked your fifth and sixth amendment rights and they cannot question you without an attorney present.
10. Start DUI School and Community Service Early: After an arrest for DUI, it is vital to begin DUI school and community service early. Most plea deals for DUI offenders involve alcohol related classes and community service. If you show the prosecutor you are sorry for what you did and are being proactive, it may increase your chances to be plead down to a reckless driving.
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