Hopefully you have never had to deal with the traumatic experience of a police officer pulling you over, shining a bright light in your face, and accusing you of a serious offense like drunk driving. If that’s true, then you may not know what to do if you were to be put in this situation. So, the question is: what can you do after you’re pulled over or stopped on suspicion of DUI? What kind of rights do you have, and what are the consequences if you accept or refuse to complete a specific task?
With the holidays among us and drunk driving arrest rates going through the roof, here are a few important aspects to drunk driving arrests that every Pittsburgh resident needs to know. The police can’t search your car unless you give them permission or they have probable cause to search. Probably cause could be if you appear visibly intoxicated or if you are doing something illegal like driving at night without headlights. The police almost always take the next step: they will ask you to take a breathalyzer test. You can refuse this test and you are well within your rights to do so; however, there are also consequences for making this choice. The police will almost certainly arrest you and, under such an arrest, you will be obligated to give a blood, urine or breathing sample to test your blood alcohol levels. We don’t recommend refusing it. If the police don’t arrest you after a Breathalyzer refusal, they’ll likely ask you to perform field sobriety tests. These tests are notoriously fickle in terms of proving a person’s state of mind. Even completely sober people can struggle with basic field sobriety exercises. You should not assume that refusing to do these things will get you off the hook. Every drunk driving case is a little different, and sometimes refusing to comply with the police can make things worse. There are ways to successfully challenge aspects of your case even after complying.
If you have questions about drunk driving laws, or you’ve recently been arrested and are looking for legal counsel, call The Law Offices of Gary Gerson today for a free consultation at 412-219-6875.