Generally speaking, being pulled over is a stressful experience. This stress can be amplified when you have been drinking and are facing a potential DUI charge. Appearing in Court and defending against that charge will probably be the last thing on your mind; but keeping a level head and weighing certain considerations could potentially make a world of difference in the outcome of your case.
Let’s walk through the typical DUI stop. You see the blue lights in your rearview mirror and your heart starts to pound. You know you’ve been drinking, and you know that’s not a good thing. You pull your car to the side of the road and wait on the officer. The officer approaches your window and you roll it down. “License and registration”, the officer asks. You scramble for your paperwork while the officer waits. A moment passes and then the officer says, “Have you been drinking this evening?”
If a police officer starts asking you questions about whether you have been drinking or where you are coming from, you need to understand that the answers that you give to those questions may be used by the Court. You are under no legal obligation to answer any questions by a police officer when you are pulled over for suspicion of a DUI. The Supreme Court has consistently held that you have the right to keep your mouth shut and not make any statements that could incriminate you. You are within your rights to politely decline to answer the question.
The officer asks you to exit your vehicle and you politely comply. You exit the vehicle and stand as still as possible. “I’d like you to perform some roadside agility and DUI test (field sobriety test)”, the officer states.
There is no law in Alabama that requires a motorist driving a non-commercial vehicle to submit to police-ordered roadside field sobriety tests. These tests are designed to build a case against you and demonstrate that you were intoxicated while driving your vehicle. You can decline every field sobriety test in Alabama, and not violate any driver’s license law or criminal law, and you should.
The officer places you in handcuffs and takes to you jail. Once you arrive at the jail you are asked to submit to a breath test.
Under Alabama law, if you refuse a properly requested breath test by an arresting officer, you face a 90-day driver’s license suspension under implied consent laws. However, it’s important to weigh this consequence with the consequences of how blowing over the limit will affect your case. If you blow over a .08, the legal limit in Alabama, you are considered legally intoxicated. If you know you have been drinking and will possibly blow over the limit, you’ll want to consider whether it’s worth giving the police evidence that will ultimately convict you. Remember, by this point you have not told the officer you were drinking, and you have not performed field sobriety test. There is little to no evidence that you were intoxicated. Why give the police evidence?
If and when you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, it’s important to have someone on your side who will protect your rights and fight for you. Instead of giving the police evidence that will ultimately convict you, immediately inform the police officer that you want to call your attorney at BHM Law Group.