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When do I have the Right to Have my Attorney Present During a Los Angeles DUI Stop?

Many of our clients claim that they were never given the opportunity to have a lawyer present during their DUI stop and therefore had their constitutional rights violated. Unfortunately, previous case law carves out an exception for those stopped for a DUI, and in many situations a person does not have the right to have an attorney present.

Right to an attorney before deciding whether to take the Blood or Breath test
The Constitution does not require that you have the right to consult an attorney before choosing which test to take. This is a decision that you must make on your own.

Right to an attorney during the administration of an Alcohol Screening Test

Similar to the right to consult an attorney before choosing a blood or breath test, the right to an attorney during the alcohol screening test is not a constitutionally protected right. Officers do not have to inform arrested persons about having an attorney present during the administering of the test. One of the main reasons is for efficiency. Alcohol screening tests are often time sensitive, and to gather an accurate reading must be given close to the time of the arrest.

Right to an attorney before any questioning

Miranda warnings are usually required during an arrest of any kind that involves questioning. However, case law has made an exception for DUI arrests, and Miranda warnings are not required to be given. Miranda warnings advise the person arrested that they have a right to an attorney, and if they cannot afford one, one will be given to them. Because Miranda warnings have been decided as not required, officers are not required to allow a person arrested for a DUI to have an attorney present during any kind of questioning. Nevertheless, a person’s 5th amendment right is always in place and is constitutionally protected. The 5th amendment right gives the person a right to remain silent and not say anything that may incriminate them. So, whereas a person arrested for a DUI may not have any right to an attorney during questioning, they do have a right to decline answering any questions that may be asked by officers.

An experienced Los Angeles DUI attorney can help protect your rights throughout the duration of the cases. Although, there are very few rights to an attorney during the arrest, there are many protections during the courtroom process and sentencing itself.sAt Hoffman and Associates we provide powerful representation to ensure that you are provided by the fullest extent of the law, and are not denied any protections offered to you under the Constitution.