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Prince William County DUI Stops 

Prince William County DUI stops can be serious for DUI charges. Before pulling people over for possible DUIs, officers will look at a person’s driving behavior. Part of that driving behavior is looking at signs of impairment and unusual driving patterns.

A driving too quickly and exceeding the speed limit is not enough to justify impairment but an officer could pull somebody over for speeding if they are exceeding the speed limit and then they could potentially check them for a DUI. There are many ways that somebody can show impairment. If they have crashed into something, press on their brakes too hard, use the wrong exit and back up, a person could show signs of intoxication. For more on behavior and DUI stops, contact a qualified DUI lawyer in Prince William County.

DUI Stop Process in Prince William County

The typical DUI stop process is composed of a couple of different elements. One of the elements is going to be the stop itself. There are a series of questions to ask. Was there reasonable articulable suspicion to stop somebody? What by that is given the officer’s training and experience, was there reasonable articulable suspicion that they were in the process of committing a crime or have committed a crime?

If the answer to that is no, is there any traffic violation that they could be committing or that they are under suspicion of committing that would allow you to pull them over? Then from there, if there are reasonable articulable suspicion and an officer must assess probable cause to arrest a person.

Officer’s Observations

The officer’s observations of a person’s driving behavior will come into effect in a DUI stop in Prince William County with a probable cause situation. The officer will ask more questions to determine probable cause to arrest. Are their fine motor skills working correctly, are they slurring their speech, do they have bloodshot eyes, do they smell like alcohol, have they admitted alcohol use, what is their performance on the field sobriety test like, did they blow into the PBT and was the PBT 0.08 or above for somebody over 21 or under 21, 0.02 or above?

All these elements are used to arrest someone. After the arrest, the person is taken to the police station for processing and whether or not somebody blows into the breathalyzer. At that point, they assess whether or not there enough to convict them of a DUI.

Questions from Officer and Searching Vehicle

Sometimes an officer will want to search the vehicle, but they do not have reasonable suspicion to search the vehicle unless a person gives them permission during a Prince William County DUI stop. If law enforcement smells marijuana, it gives them probable cause to search the vehicle and then law enforcement can get in and search it for marijuana. But just for the purposes of DUI, they cannot search a vehicle. It is not allowable under the law.

With questions, an officer will try to make the person stumble or trick them. They will ask things like, “Where are you going?” “Where are you coming from?” “Where have you been?” “Did you drink tonight?” “What did you drink?” “When did you have it?” “Who else was with you?” “How long have you been driving?” “Where do you live?” All the questions that they are asking a person are designed to try to make the person stumble during a DUI stop. A person can definitely respectfully decline to answer and a person should always respectfully decline the answer to these questions.

Consenting to Search of Vehicle

An officer needs consent to search a vehicle. However, consent usually means an officer has no right to search. A person does not have to let them into their car during a DUI stop in Prince William County. The person should say, “I do not consent.” Law enforcement is going to search the car if they have probable cause. Sometimes, they might search it even if they do not have probable cause but a person should absolutely not consent.

Even after being arrested for a DUI, the person still should not consent. Officers are going to search the person’s car if they tow the car pursuant to an inventory search. They are not allowed to search the person on the side of the road. They get to search it pursuant to the inventory search guidelines, which are actually pretty strict. Talk to a professional DUI lawyer for more information about Prince William County DUI stops.