Individuals who are pulled over for the suspicion of drunk driving must ensure they understand their rights. Violations of these rights can sometimes have an impact on the defense strategy that’s used to combat the charges.
While there are many important things you should know about these stops, there are five that are very important.
#1: Reasonable suspicion is required to conduct the stop
Police officers need to have reasonable suspicion to initiate a traffic stop for the suspicion of drunk driving. This can be something as simple as seeing a vehicle swerving or any other sign that a driver is impaired. They can also conduct a traffic stop if they see something like a burned out brake light.
Sometimes, drunk driving charges don’t stem from a traffic stop. Instead, they’re the result of a crash. If alcohol impairment is suspected in a crash, the officer will try to determine if that’s the case.
#2: Preliminary alcohol screening devices aren’t admissible in court
Roadside breath test results aren’t accurate enough to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that someone is impaired. Instead, a conviction must depend on something more accurate, such as a stationary breath test machine or another chemical test.
#3: Miranda rights should be invoked
You have the right to avoid self-incrimination, so you don’t have to speak to police officers. They should read you the Miranda warnings, which include that you have the right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney.
You must invoke your Miranda rights in a clear manner. Simply being quiet won’t work so you have to say something like “I invoke my Miranda rights” or “I choose to remain silent until I speak to my attorney.” Once you do this, questioning has to stop. They can’t just call in new officers to resume an interrogation.
Understanding your defense strategy options for a drunk driving case is important because the outcome of your case can have a huge impact on your future. Working with someone who’s familiar with cases similar to yours can help you to find out exactly what you might be able to do.