If you are facing DUI charges, there is a lot at stake. Your driving privileges, freedom and ability to find employment can all be compromised. In addition, you may face jail time, hefty fines and increased insurance premiums.
Sadly, many people aren't aware of their rights when they are pulled over by police. It's important that you hire a DUI lawyer to represent you in court, but the actions you take at the time of the traffic stop can also make a major difference in your case.
What should I say to police during a traffic stop?
What you say to police during a traffic stop can be used against you. In addition, answering seemingly innocuous questions can lead to further suspicion that you may have been driving drunk.
You are required to tell police your name and information found on your driver's license. You're also required to provide your driver's license and vehicle registration upon request.
You are not required to answer any questions the officer has. Police may ask questions in order to find clues that you may have been driving drunk. Some common questions include:
- Where are you coming from?
- Where are you headed to?
- What were you doing tonight?
- Did you have anything to drink?
When asked how much they had to drink, some people make the mistake of saying something along the lines of, "I just had one drink." Answering questions like this can make your situation even worse. If you're arrested and charged with DUI, it can hurt your case in court.
Am I required to take a field sobriety test?
Field sobriety tests barely provide any real evidence of drunk driving. They usually involve three tiers, including walking and turning, standing on one leg, and following a pen (or other small object) with your eyes.
These tests can be difficult to perform, even for people who are 100 percent sober. You are not required to take a field sobriety test in Michigan, however. Furthermore, refusing to take a field sobriety test doesn't warrant any legal consequences under Michigan's implied consent law.
Should I take a preliminary breath test?
While refusing a field sobriety test doesn't carry any legal consequences or provide any evidence that can be used against you, it could heighten an officer's suspicion that you were driving drunk. In that case, an officer will likely administer a preliminary breath test.
This occurs when you are asked to blow into a Breathalyzer to determine your BAC level. You can technically refuse a preliminary breath test, but will face legal consequences under the implied consent law. This could include a civil infraction ticket and a $150 fine plus any court costs If you agree to take the breath test, your attorney may be able to dispute the BAC results in court.
These tests don't always render accurate results. Lack of solid evidence produced by breath tests has resulted in some cases being thrown out in court.
Should I take a chemical test?
After a DUI arrest, the police will likely offer a chemical test to determine your BAC. This could be in the form of either a second breath test or a blood draw. You can technically refuse this test as well, however, this could result in:
- A one-year suspension of your operator’s license, and
- 6 points on your driving record
If the test is refused, the police will likely seek a warrant from a judge in order to obtain a blood draw. Chemical test results can be challenged by an attorney. Breath test machines require strict calibration and maintenance in order to operate reliably. The use of these devices has been under intense scrutiny. A competent attorney can obtain maintenance and calibration records for breath test devices and mount a challenge to the blood alcohol results.
How can a lawyer help me fight the charges?
If you were arrested and charged with a DUI, knowing your rights is the first step to beating the charges. Consulting with an experienced Michigan DUI defense attorney is the next step.
The attorneys at Manley & Manley have a combined 70 years of experience fighting for people facing DUI charges and getting results. We know how the system in Michigan works and we can devise a legal strategy to help you fight the charges.
To learn more, contact our Flint law office online or call us at (810) 238-0500 for a free case evaluation.