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Your Rights in a DUI Stop

Your Rights in a DUI Stop in Marietta

How to Handle a DUI Investigation in Cobb County

Unlike many types of criminal cases, the suspect in a DUI investigation is very often the person who helps the law enforcement officer the most in building the case. It happens all too often that a person who is convicted or pleads guilty to DUI essentially worked hand in hand with the officer by providing evidence and incriminating statements or even a confession. Fortunately, you don't have to make this mistake. You have powerful legal rights that can protect you during a DUI stop and in the ensuing criminal case. Whether you found this page because you want to arm yourself with useful information or if you have already been charged with DUI and want to know whether your rights may have been violated, read on for answers to your questions.

Illegal Traffic Stops in DUI Investigations

Under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, you cannot be searched or arrested unless the police officer has a search warrant or has probable cause to believe that you have committed – or are committing – a crime. Unless the officer can testify in court as to what gave him or her probable cause to pull of you over, such as if you committed a traffic violation or were driving erratically, it may be possible to have the charges dismissed on the grounds that your Fourth Amendment rights were violated.

You Have a Right to Remain Silent

The Fifth Amendment secures your right not to testify against yourself. Beyond providing basic information to identify yourself, you do not have to answer the officer's questions concerning where you are coming from, where you are going or whether you have been drinking. Politely refuse to answer questions and then ask if you are free to leave. Very often, a police officer does not have grounds to detain a driver and instead relies on the suspect's own sense of politeness to keep him or her there in order to continue questioning. Ask if you are being detained, and leave as soon as you can.

You Have a Right to an Attorney

Do not hesitate to exercise your right to consult with a lawyer. The officer is not likely to tell you so, but you can call your attorney even during the roadside traffic stop. By doing so, you can get answers to your questions about how to handle the situation, and can greatly reduce the likelihood of making mistakes that could later lead to a conviction.

Don't Take the Field Sobriety Tests

If you have not already been told that you are free to leave, the officer is likely to request that you step out of the vehicle in order to perform the standardized field sobriety tests, such as the one-leg stand and the walk-and-turn. Contrary to what you may have heard, these tests are not mandatory. By agreeing to submit to the tests, you will only be agreeing to help the officer build the case against you. The field sobriety tests are designed to fail, and they depend in large measure on the subjective opinion of the officer; if he or she wants you to fail the tests, you will almost certainly fail.

Do Take the Blood Test

You are not legally required to submit to chemical testing of your breath or blood. Under Georgia's implied consent law, however, you are considered to have agreed to take such tests when requested to do so, upon penalty of a driver's license suspension. If you refuse to take a breathalyzer or blood test, you can lose your license even if you succeed in beating the charges in criminal court. As soon as possible after taking the test, however, you should hurry to a hospital to have another test performed, because having an independently analyzed sample can make the difference between a conviction and an exoneration.

Speak with a Marietta DUI Lawyer

If you have been charged with DUI and believe that your rights may have been violated during the course of the investigation, do not wait to contact me at Stahlman Law P.C. Get a Marietta DUI attorney with more than 20 years of experience on your side!

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  • Find Answers in a Time of Crisis
    Being charged with a crime brings up many questions. For answers to commonly asked questions, click here!