Yes, you read that right – even someone suspected of DUI has rights that not only dictate how they ought to be treated but also what they need to do and what they can refuse.
But before we take a step further into this discussion, let us make one thing absolutely clear: you cannot refuse to be tested for alcohol consumption (the Alcotest), if you do so, you’ll end up in a lot more trouble than otherwise.
So be sure never to obstruct the way of the law.
But with that said, just because you had a little too much to drink (not a good idea, to begin with, but it happens) does not mean that you can be treated unfairly. Even someone suspected of DUI has the rights of a free citizen until it is proven that they are indeed inebriated.
Firstly, a police officer in Portland, or pretty much anywhere else in the USA, cannot stop you for inspection unless they have a reasonable suspicion of a DUI offense. Thus if you’ve been pulled over then that’s most probably because of speeding, unsafe driving, disobeying a traffic signal, and so on.
It is only under such circumstances that a police officer will have a justification for checking you for DUI.
Now let’s dive into further detail about the chain of events that follow and how you can exercise your rights at each stage up to getting yourself a DUI defense lawyer.
#1) You Can Refuse to Give Consent for a Car Search
Yes, you have the right to refuse to give your consent for a car search.
And if you do so, the police officer may not search your vehicle unless they have a warrant, but presuming that they don’t, i.e. they just pulled you over for speeding, and you tested positive for DUI, they can’t search your car if you don’t allow it.
Plus, if they do so, without your consent, simply express that you won’t allow this, but don’t misbehave or panic – anything they find during a search not consented by you will not be eligible evidence in your case. Make sure you discuss all the details with your lawyer.
#2) Silence Is Both Your Right & Duty
Not only does the law give you the right to stay silent in such situations, but common sense also dictates that you do so. Don’t be rude or rigid, just let the officer know that you intend to exercise your right to silence and that you will discuss matters with your lawyer before anyone else.
If a Portland police officer finds you inebriated, they will probably ask you stuff like how much did you had to drink, where you got it from, what do you have in your car, and so on. You don’t have to answer any of these questions, you are only legally required to go through an alcohol test and to cooperate with the police officer as much as possible within reason.
Don’t give statements, don’t say anything at the moment because it may be used against you later on.
#3) Call Your Lawyer
The state guarantees you the right to a Portland DUI defense lawyer and you should take it – you don’t have to give any statement to the police. Instead, you can choose to (and should choose to) discuss things with your lawyer before anyone else.
The first call you make should be to a DUI defense lawyer, period.
#4) Seek Explanation for the Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs)
The police officer must explain to you how the field sobriety tests (FSTs) work and how you’re supposed to perform. Unless you’ve been explained the basics completely, the results can be deemed ineligible for your DUI case.
Before agreeing to an FST, you should ask how it works.
#5) You Can Refuse to Be Tested
The police officer who pulls you over and suspects DUI will need your consent before they can perform FSTs on you. This does not apply to the alcohol breath test – if you refuse to cooperate here, you’ll only increase problems for yourself.
However, as for the rest, you can refuse being tested for things like walk-and-turn, one-leg stands, and so on.
#6) You Have a Right to Know Your Rights
This much is pretty simple: if the police take you in custody and an officer interrogates you, they’ll first have to read you your rights. If this does not happen, any confession or statement extracted will be considered invalid by default.
Seek A Strong DUI Defense As Soon As Possible
Don’t be too hard on yourself if you’ve been arrested for DUI, what has already happened cannot be changed, but you can work on your strategy from thereon. There is only one thing you need to do: call a professional DUI defense lawyer from Trilogy Law Group and leave the rest to us!