If you are pulled over for a DUI stop, it can be incredibly stressful. Whether or not you are guilty, being pulled over can cause you to feel that you are doing something wrong, which can lead you to say or do things you might not normally do. During a traffic stop, you have rights and it is important to be aware of those rights in advance. Further, if you have been pulled over for a DUI stop and are taken into custody, you have the right to contact the best DUI lawyers in Clearwater.
Right to Remain Silent
You may have heard people say “I plead the fifth” in reference to the fifth amendment, and in the case of a DUI you have the right to plead the fifth. The fifth amendment affords you the right to remain silent, even during a traffic stop. Often, when we are pulled over we feel the need to comply and overshare in order to prove our innocence, but police officers are analyzing and documenting everything you say and looking for any other possible violations. By asserting your right to silence, you are protecting yourself from accidentally creating future issues.
Of course, in some cases a police officer might mistake your silence for non-compliance or hostility, so you don’t have to be completely silent. But, you do have the right to refuse to answer if you had any drinks or other substances.
Right to Deny a Search of Your Vehicle
There is a common misconception in the State of Florida that you must consent to search of your vehicle if you are pulled over, however that is simply not the case. You have the right to deny a search of your vehicle without a search warrant. However, keep in mind that if you are arrested for a DUI offense, it is likely that the police have the lawful right to search your car to determine if there is any contraband related to the DUI within the vehicle.
Right to Decline a Field Sobriety Test
Just as you have the right to remain silent and deny a search of your vehicle, you have the right to decline a field sobriety test. These tests are inconclusive and unreliable at best, and are completely up to the officer’s discretion. Simply put, these tests would be difficult to perform if you were alone in your house. The pressure and stress of having to perform these tests as an audition for your freedom is likely to be overwhelming, and it’s unlikely that you will perform to the satisfaction of the police.
Do’s and Don’ts If You Are Pulled Over for a DUI
If you are pulled over for a DUI, there are a few simple do’s and don’ts to remember. Do:
- Keep your hands on the wheel when you are pulled over
- Try to remain polite and non-combative
- Provide your driver’s license and insurance information.
- Get out of the car unless asked
- Become argumentative or combative
When to Contact an Attorney
If you are pulled over or arrested for the DUI, contact the top DUI lawyers Clearwater, with Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan. It is important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible and to refrain from speaking to the police without a lawyer present. Your attorney will discuss your legal rights and help craft a defense, work on any potential plea bargains available, and will walk you through every step of the way.