A police officer approaches you and starts asking questions about drinking. You probably realize the officer suspects you of driving under the influence (DUI), also known as DWI or OWI. What are your rights?
First off, it’s important to understand your rights if you’re suspected of DUI. Knowing them can make a difference as you respond to questions – or choose to remain silent, which is one of your rights.
In many cases, an experienced DUI defense lawyer hears from clients who say they didn’t know their rights after being pulled over. They end up making statements they might think are helpful or innocuous but in reality end up getting them into deeper legal trouble.
Know your rights
The following lists your rights before, during, and after a DUI stop:
- The right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. A police officer needs to have reasonable suspicion to pull you over (for example, you were speeding or weaving between lanes).
- You can’t be pulled over for no reason and accused of DUI. This right, guaranteed under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, also prohibits law enforcement from engaging in unreasonable searches or seizures.
- The right to remain silent. An officer might ask when you had your last drink, how many drinks you had, or where you are coming from. You don’t have to answer these questions.
- The right to a clear explanation of the tests for sobriety. There are field sobriety test (FST) procedures, and the officer must offer a clear explanation of them. The manner in which the instructions are given is regulated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Standards. Failure to follow those standards could result in the results of the sobriety tests being excluded at trial.
- Reading of your rights. If an officer wants to interrogate you while you are in custody, he or she must read the Miranda warning, which many people have heard on TV and in movies. If the officer asks questions before reading the warning, your lawyer can ask to have your statements not used as evidence against you.
How an attorney can help
The list above refers to some but not all of your rights before, during, and after a DUI. If your rights are violated, you should discuss your case with an experienced DUI lawyer in Michigan as soon as possible. Our attorneys at Manley & Manley have years of experience defending clients arrested on DUI charges. If your rights have been violated, we can help you mount a proper defense with the goal of getting the charge dropped. Contact us today for a free case evaluation. Our office is located in Flint and we serve clients located throughout Michigan.