What Are My Rights If I Am Arrested For A DWI?
You do have rights if you are ever arrested for a DWI. However, this doesn’t mean that you can resist arrest or, in certain cases, refuse a blood or breath test. Instead, it means you do not have to comply willingly with all of the “requests” that an officer makes.
DWI and What Your Rights Are During a Traffic Stop
A majority of investigations of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) get started when a police officer sees a person driving that he thinks has committed a traffic violation and then gets a traffic stop initiated. After the officer turns his sirens and emergency lights on, you cannot legally just drive away. That will just make matters a lot worse since that is considered to be “evading arrest in a vehicle” and that is a felony offense.
We have simple advice for you: Do not drive away! Turn on your right blinker and move over to the right side of the road. Park out of the traffic flow. The best place for you to stop is a parking lot.
The mandatory stop is either considered to be an arrest or temporary detention. Both of the invoke your Constitutional rights under the 4th Amendment. It states:
The rights of the people are to be secure in their effects, papers, houses, and persons, against unreasonable seizures and searches, and shall not be violated, and there shall be no warrants issued, but on probable cause, which is supported by an oath or affirmation, and especially describing the place that is to be searched and the things or persons to be seized.
For a police officer to be able to stop you legally, he will be required to articulate the facts (probably cause) to show that you committed a traffic violation. In a majority of DWI cases, an officer might cite a violation of traffic laws, like:
Failing to stop at the designated stop sign, or
Failing to maintain a single lane.
After you are pulled over, remember that when you are at the side of the road isn’t the place or time to question the officer or start with legal arguments. Be polite at all times and keep in mind that the best action that you can take is, to say the least as possible. We advise you to wait and let your DWI lawyer examine the evidence that supports or refutes the validity of your initial traffic stop. There are four opportunities that you will have for exercising your right to challenge the stop legally:
Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing:
At your initial court appearance, the Judge will need to evaluate the probable cause. Later during the motion to suppress hearing (This is where the Judge is asked by the defense to exclude certain evidence from their trial).Or, at trial, if necessary.
Your Rights: You have the legal right to NOT be stopped without any legal justification. If an officer does not have any probable cause, then during the initial contact he has then violated your 4th Amendment rights and the State will not have much for building a valid DWI case because all of the evidence that has been gathered after that point is now inadmissible.
Your Rights and DWI During Personal Contact
After the traffic stop has been initiated by the office, whether or not it is valid, he will be making contact with you. He will be asking you for your registration and driver’s license and might try to make “small talk” with you. “Small talk” is actually a tactic to attempt to collect evidence against you. The officer will then solicit as much information as possible from you – especially if he suspects you of DWI.
He will ask you questions like:
Do you know where you are currently?
What is that alcohol smell?
Did you come from a bar?
Have you drunk any alcohol today?
Where are you headed to?
Where are you coming from?
Give Jim a call today and let him give you a free consultation so that you can get the help that you need. You can contact Jim for your free consultation! Click here to go to the next article in this series.