Drunk driving traffic stops can make it difficult for you to think. You probably know that you shouldn’t have been driving after you were drinking. Still, mistakes can occur every now and then. Knowing what you should do if you see those flashing lights can help you make decisions about how you will handle the situation.
#1: Reasonable suspicion for a traffic stop
Police officers must have reasonable suspicion if they are going to initiate a traffic stop. Swerving, driving too slowly or hitting your brakes unexpectedly can lead to the police officer having reasonable suspicion to pull you over. Of course, the police officer can automatically pull you over if you are breaking traffic laws. Speeding, running red lights and similar actions can lead to a traffic stop.
#2: Breath test refusal is possible but has consequences
A police officer who thinks you have been drinking might ask you to take a breath test to determine your blood-alcohol concentration. You do have the right to refuse to take the test; however, there are consequences to refusing. You should understand that you might face a driver’s license suspension. You might also face other penalties.
#3: Field sobriety test can impact a stop
Standardized field sobriety tests can impact a stop. These tests can give officers information that they can use to initiate an arrest. Take your time if you are told to complete these tests. Be careful about your movements as these can serve as markers that indicate impairment. These tests are subjective, so this might be a consideration if your case goes to trial.
#4: Civil rights apply
Your civil rights apply during a drunk driving stop and arrest. If the officer decides to arrest you, your right to remain silent and your right to have an attorney with you during questioning come into the picture. Make sure that you invoke your rights clearly so there isn’t any doubt about whether you invoked them or not.
#5: A defense must start quickly
Whether you are facing an indictable offense or a disorderly persons offense, it is imperative that you start on your defense right away. This gives you time to review the case against you, consider the circumstances of your case and determine how you should answer the charges. You must take the time to review each option for a defense that you have so that you can decide on which you are most comfortable with.