7 Ways To Protect Yourself If Stopped For A DUI
Those lights flashing in the rearview mirror and the sirens blaring in your ears can be frightening and distressing for any driver. The situation can be especially stressful if the officer suspects that the driver is drunk. A driver’s actions when being pulled over matter. There are certain steps to take to better protect yourself if stopped for a DUI that can safeguard your legal rights. The state of Arizona does not take drunk driving lightly. If you have questions or have been charged with DUI, consider speaking directly Chuck Franklin, an Arizona DUI attorney at Chuck Franklin Law by calling (480) 545-0700 to schedule a consultation.
Consequences of DUI in Arizona
According to the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), private drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or more and commercial drivers with a BAC of .04 percent or more may be found guilty of driving while intoxicated. The penalties are severe even for first-time offenders. A driver with no criminal history or blemishes on his or her driving record may face any of the following:
- Jail time
- Community service
- Alcohol treatment or training
- Certified ignition interlock device installed in his or her vehicle
Subsequent offenses will equate to steadily elevating, harsher penalties.
Follow These Steps if Stopped for a DUI
To get a better idea of how many drinks affect a person’s BAC, you can review the guidelines and resources provided by the Arizona Department of Public Safety. Drivers could benefit from keeping this information available so that they can monitor their alcohol intake. However, even if a driver is being responsible with alcohol consumption, he or she may still be subject to a DUI stop by law enforcement.
Being pulled over for a DUI is not an ideal situation, and the potential repercussions can impact every part of a person’s life. If fines, jail time, and community service are not enough, the implication of having a DUI offense has the potential to affect a person’s professional work and licensing and ability to secure affordable insurance, obtain loans, get into certain educational programs, and more. To protect yourself if stopped for a DUI, follow these tips:
- Find a safe spot to pull over
- Mind your manners and stay calm
- Provide your information
- Admit to nothing
- Do not agree to field tests
- Choose a breath test at the police department
- Contact an attorney
Find a Safe Spot To Pull Over
Drivers should acknowledge that an officer is signaling them and then immediately start the process of looking for a safe location to pull over that will keep their car and the officer’s out of the way of moving traffic. Use turn signals and come to a complete stop when you find that safe place.
Mind Your Manners and Stay Calm
Everything a driver does will be monitored by the officer and recorded on the officer’s camera. Consequently, both verbal and visual documentation of the scene will be on record. As unnerving as speaking with an officer can be, drivers should stay calm, speak politely, remain respectful, and be cooperative throughout the interaction.
Provide Your Information
The officer will ask for a driver’s credentials, including:
- The driver’s name
- The driver’s license
- Car insurance information
- The car’s registration
Drivers should willingly provide the officer with this information as requested.
Admit to Nothing
An officer may question a driver’s drinking habits or ask if the driver had enjoyed an alcoholic beverage before getting behind the wheel. The driver does not have to self-incriminate, which means that the driver does not have to answer these questions. Staying silent is completely legal. Being questioned by a police officer can make anyone tense. The one thing to remember is, whatever approach you take, do not lie. Lying can hurt any defense you may have in court.
Do Not Agree to Field Tests
Drivers should comply if an officer asks them to exit their vehicle. However, if the officer asks the driver to take some type of field sobriety test, it may be best to politely decline. These tests are voluntary, and a driver is not under any legal obligation to engage in such tests. All these tests do is potentially provide an officer with more incriminating evidence against the driver.
Choose a Breath Test at the Police Department
After a driver is taken to the police department, he or she will be given the option of taking a chemical test by way of breath, urine, or blood. Typically, the breath test results have a greater tendency to be erroneous and can be more easily defended against in court.
Contact an Attorney
Working with an attorney can help drivers both understand their rights and protect them. An experienced Arizona criminal defense attorney at Chuck Franklin Law can assist drivers who have been charged with DUI in fighting those charges. Chuck Franklin directly answers the phone, so contact him directly today to learn more about your legal options.
Possible Defenses for a DUI Charge
A skilled attorney with experience managing DUI charges will evaluate his or her client’s case to determine what potential defense strategies can be used. A few examples of possible defense approaches to a DUI include:
- Inaccurate results
- Denial of right to counsel
- Lack of probable cause
When a breath test is being administered, errors may occur. If this happens, then the results cannot be considered reliable or accurate. Even in situations when there were no mistakes made, the tests themselves are not always 100-percent accurate and carry a margin of error that may skew the results.
Denial of Right to Counsel
An officer can question a driver and will likely extract information that can be used against him or her. However, if the driver requests to speak to an attorney, the officer must stop the interrogation immediately. If an officer denies a driver’s right to counsel, the case may be dismissed.
Lack of Probable Cause
Law enforcement must have specific reasons for suspecting that a driver is intoxicated before stopping the driver. Without probable cause, any evidence that the police officer may have gathered could be thrown out by the court, weakening the case against the driver.
Speak to an Arizona DUI Attorney Today
Understanding how to protect yourself if stopped for a DUI can help you if you ever need to mount a defense against DUI charges. Any type of arrest can be stressful, including an arrest for DUI. Drivers have certain rights, which include the right to secure competent legal counsel to help them find ways to potentially overcome the charges and avoid harsh penalties. If you have found yourself in this situation or have questions, consider contacting the Arizona DUI lawyer Chuck Franklin at Chuck Franklin Law today by calling (480) 545-0700 to discuss your situation during a free consultation.