Getting pulled over by the police is usually one of life’s most stressful moments. Even if it’s just for a broken taillight, seeing the flashing red and blue lights in your rearview mirror can still cause your adrenaline and heart rate to spike.
What about if the stop is due to the suspicion that you’re driving drunk? In that case, your mind can flood with questions: Am I going to jail? How much will this cost me? Am I going to lose my license? In the same situation and often motivated by fear, people decide to comply with every request police make of them. If you do the same, it could make your legal defense much more difficult, which could open you up to many of Pennsylvania’s stiff penalties for DUI.
Field sobriety tests are optional
One of the first questions that the officer who pulls you over will likely ask is if you’ve been drinking and how many drinks. Remember, you do not have to answer that question. In any interaction with law enforcement, you have the right to remain silent.
The officer will then likely to ask you to get out of the car and participate in a field sobriety test, any number of physical demonstrations to look for proof that your abilities are impaired. You can decline to participate in this test as well. Of course, the officer may still choose to arrest you, however, if your case proceeds to a trial, your officer will have to discuss the probable cause he or she had to arrest you. By not participating, you will be helping your own defense.
BAC tests are your arrest carry harsh penalties for refusal
However, if police do arrest you and take you in, they will then ask you to take a breath, blood or urine test to determine your blood alcohol content level. If you refuse to take this test, you will face an automatic suspension of your driver’s license for six, 12 or even 18 months.
Remember that you have rights!
Many times, police count on your fear to induce compliance. By knowing a few basic facts, you can put yourself in a better position for an outcome that protects your freedom record.
Of course, beyond the initial encounter, you should never try to solve a DUI arrest on your own. The attorneys of the Quinn Law Firm in Erie, Pennsylvania, have been protecting the rights of people facing DUI charges throughout northwestern Pennsylvania for decades. To learn more about what they can do for you, call 814-833-2222 today.