Your Rights In A DUI Stop

Being stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) in Virginia is an unsettling experience. After the dust settles from the initial encounter with the police, you may have countless questions and concerns. Did you do the right thing? Did the police respect your rights?

Here at the Roanoke Valley law firm of Dirk Padgett Law PLLC, we offer a free, one-on-one consultation with one of our lawyers to answer your questions. Every situation is different, so it takes an experienced attorney to look at the facts of your unique case and determine if any of your rights were violated. Call us at 540-904-1630 today.

Here are a few general questions and answers about your rights after a DUI stop:

"When does a police officer have a right to pull me over?"
In Virginia, law enforcement officers have the right to pull you over when they feel there is reasonable, articulable suspicion that a crime is being committed. Driving under the influence counts as a crime.

"Does the police officer have a right to ask me to get out of the car?"
If the officer honestly believes you may be driving drunk or while on drugs, then yes, he or she has a right to detain you and ask you to get out of your vehicle.

"Do I have to take a field sobriety test?"
Although an officer may ask you to take a series of field sobriety tests, no one can force you to do so against your will.

"Do I have the right to refuse the Alco-Sensor or preliminary breath test?"
Yes, you can certainly refuse to do so. The Alco-Sensor is meant for your protection, not as a way for the police to gather evidence against you. If you refuse to take the preliminary breath test, you should not face any negative consequences. The Alco-Sensor will be offered at the time of the arrest while you are still at the scene of the stop. (The Breathalyzer test, however, is another matter.)

"Must I take the Breathalyzer?"
Once you are arrested you will be taken to the police station for a Breathalyzer test. If you don't take the Breathalyzer test, you may be charged with refusal, which is a separate offense. You can lose your driver's license for an entire year if you are convicted of unreasonably refusing the test. (If you have certain health conditions, however, you may be physically unable to blow into the device, and therefore your refusal is not unreasonable.)

"Once I'm placed under arrest, should I be read my rights?"
If the officer is going to continue to question you about the alleged offense after he or she has placed you in custody, he or she must first read you your rights. Plus, the officer must explain Virginia's implied consent law. This law essentially states that by driving on the road, you agree to provide a breath test, should you ever be arrested on DUI charges.

"I'm a college student. Do I have any special concerns to worry about?"
A conviction could affect your good standing with your college or university. Not only that, if you are convicted of some types of crimes, you could face difficulty with applying for or maintaining your financial aid or securing federal work study positions.

Get A Free Consultation About Your Unique Situation

Remember, it takes close scrutiny by a legal professional to tell whether you have a strong defense against the charges you face. Get the counsel you need by calling Dirk Padgett Law PLLC at 540-904-1630 or email us today.