Your Fifth Amendment Rights During a DUI Stop

When you have been stopped for suspicion of a DUI, it is a scary and stressful experience. What most people do not know is that officers have to follow a certain protocol before they are allowed to arrest someone for the suspicion of a DUI. If they do not follow the protocol, they do not have grounds to take someone into custody. Saying certain things, even though it may seem like you are cooperating with officers, may give officers the reasonable cause they are looking for. Understanding the process and the legal obstacles officers must jump over, may give some clarification on the issue of what statements you should not make to officers if you find yourself being stopped.

Probable Cause

For an officer to ask you to pull over they need a probable cause. Probable cause will arise from a traffic violation, or for some violation in driving. This will give officers the authority to ask you to pull over. Such violations can be speeding, running a red light, or weaving.

Officers can also assist in a situation where you are pulled over at the side of the road. They can come and see if anything is wrong or if you need assistance. This also gives them probable cause.

Reasonable Suspicion

Once an officer has a valid reason to pull you over, they may ask you to submit to a breath test if they have reasonable suspicion that you are intoxicated. The intoxication may be from alcohol or drugs. One of the ways an officer can obtain reasonable suspicion is if they observe signs that show you are intoxicated. This can be red eyes, the smell of alcohol, slurring, or incoherent. The other, more common way, for officers to get reasonable suspicion is through admissions. When you are stopped, officers will ask if you have been drinking, or if you have had an alcohol that evening. Most people, wanting to be cooperative will admit to having been drinking. This is an admission and all the reasonable suspicion an officer needs to ask you to submit to a breath test or other field sobriety test.

A person cannot be charged and found guilty, if officers do not follow proper protocol in gathering evidence. If they did not follow protocol and you have been charged, there is a good chance your case may be dismissed or reduced. Admitting to having been drinking only solidifies the officer’s case. It is not advisable to lie to officers, however, the fifth amendment protects your right to not have to say anything incriminating about yourself. You do not need to say yes or no, you can simply say that you do not wish to answer.

If you find yourself in this situation, do not hesitate to contact a Los Angeles DUI lawyer as soon as possible. They can walk you through the facts of your case and assess its strengths and weaknesses.

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