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Dumfries DUI Stops

Dumfries officers, when attempting to detect DUI, are looking for erratic driving behavior. This can be everything from someone taking too many chances, to driving too slowly, to swerving or leaving their lanes, as well as running off the road or striking other objects.

If you have been stopped for a Dumfries DUI, contact a lawyer in order to know your rights and have a guide through the process.

Typical DUI Stop Process

The typical DUI stop in Dumfries will involve the police pulling someone over to investigate for DUI. There will be an initial conversation where the officer will try to determine whether there is enough evidence to investigate further. They would be looking for the smell of alcohol, whether a person acknowledges that they’ve had anything to drink, as well as whether their speech is slurred or their eyes are wide shot and glassy. If they believe they got further evidence, they will ask the person to get out of their vehicle and perform a series of Field Sobriety Tests.

The officer will perform Field Sobriety Tests which could include a wide variety of things. The standard Field Sobriety Test includes the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, a nine-step walk and turn test, as well as one-legged stand test. In addition to this, however, police often use alphabet tests as well as a number of other tests.

At the end of those Field Sobriety Tests, they will offer a Preliminary Breath Test. If police believe that there is probable cause for DUI based on all of these things, then an arrest will be made at that point.

The officer is going to ask the person whether they’ve been drinking that night and if they have been drinking, how much they’ve been drinking, as well as the last time that they had a drink.

Vehicle Search

If a person is placed under arrest, the officer is required to search the vehicle as part of an inventory search. During the investigation, the officer will sometimes ask whether they have permission to search the vehicle. Unless a person has been arrested, however, there is not typically a right to search or probable cause to search during the initial encounter. For this reason, the person should never consent to this kind of search.

A person has a right under the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution to never consent to a search. A person has a right to not incriminate themselves. In addition, under the Fourth Amendment, a person has the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizure so there’s never been a good reason to consent to a search even where the police have probable cause.

A person does not have to consent to a search of their vehicle after being arrested for DUI even though it is normally the case that police will have the right to search your vehicle, as part of a lawful arrest, you should still never consent. There are ways that searches can be challenged later by your attorney which are going to be waived if there’s consent.

Speaking to a Lawyer

You’re not going to have an opportunity to speak to counsel during a DUI stop. The first opportunity that you will get to speak to a lawyer will come afterwards either when you’re released from booking or when you are released from jail later.

Mistakes to Avoid

The biggest mistakes to avoid in DUI stops are cooperating with the police beyond giving them your name and showing them your driver’s license. The police are stopping you in order to build a case and arrest you for DUI. For that reason, there is no reason to perform Field Sobriety Tests or blow into a preliminary breath test. These things only serve to create evidence against you and they should be declined on the side of the road.

Drug-Related DUI

Officers will charge someone with a drug-related DUI if, from the totality of the evidence that they observe, they believe that the person is under the influence. This includes everything from driving behavior, to behavior during the initial encounter, to Field Sobriety Tests. Typically, police will believe there are drugs involved when they believe they are observing intoxicated behavior but they do not have a preliminary breath test or blood alcohol test which registers in the alcohol.

Miranda Rights

A person does not necessarily have to be read their Miranda rights during a Dumfries DUI stop or arrest. What the Miranda rights say is that if you are in custody and being interrogated by the police in order for them to use your answers against you at court, you must first be given a Miranda warning.

However, because most of the evidence in a DUI stop relates to behavior or the results of tests rather than statements that are made by the defendant, Miranda is often not given and in fact in many cases will not be given until such time a person has been arrested. Even if an individual is not given that warning at the time of arrest, in most cases, it is not going to afford a defense in a DUI case.

Constitutional Rights

All of a person’s constitutional rights are in full effect during a DUI stop that includes the right not to incriminate themselves, which means that a person does not have to answer questions or perform tests of any kind. In addition, individuals have the right, under the Fourth Amendment, to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. This means a person doesn’t have to consent to searches and never should.

In addition, a person will ultimately have the right to have the assistance of and speak to an attorney. If an individual is requested by police in the scenario they should simply tell them that they are choosing to remain silent, that they do not consent to any searches and that they want to talk a lawyer. At that point, all questioning should cease.

Post-Arrest Rights

A person still has all of their rights once they have been arrested. They still do not have to consent to the searches or make any statements to the police. In fact, once a person has been placed under arrest, they additionally have the right to receive a Miranda warning, if the police want to use any statements that they make post-arrest against the individual in court.