Being pulled over by a law enforcement officer under the suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a frightening and overwhelming experience. Make sure that you know and fully understand your rights and never let your nerves get the best of you. Remember, not every request a police officer makes must be obeyed.
Understanding Your Rights When an Officer Pulls You Over
No matter what you have or have not done, getting pulled over by a police officer can make anyone feel shaken and, as a result, people tend to comply with every request out of fear. Understand your rights and know what you can and cannot refuse.
- Have you been drinking? Since the answer to this question is incriminating, you actually have the right not to answer it. However, you should not lie. You should simply decline to answer the question.
- Can I see your license and registration? This is a request you must comply with. Always keep your license, registration, and proof of insurance in an easily accessible place, such as your glove compartment. You could also store them above your sun visor. You do not want to end up fumbling around for this crucial information.
- Can you please step outside of your vehicle? If you are asked by a law enforcement officer to step outside of your vehicle, you do not have to obey this request. That said, you should never be rude. Politely decline to step outside of your car unless the police officer states that you are under arrest. In this case, you must comply.
Of course, if an officer suspects that you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, there are other requests he or she will surely make, which include:
- Field sobriety tests: You are likely familiar with field sobriety tests even if you never had to take one. These include the Walk and Turn or the One Leg Stand, which are nearly impossible to perform under such stressful circumstances, regardless if you drank or took drugs. In fact, several studies have revealed that these tests are wrong nearly half the time. In Massachusetts, it is not mandatory to perform these tests and it is your right to decline to take them. You might still get arrested, but taking a field sobriety test will only harm your case.
- Preliminary breath tests: You have the right to refuse a breath test when stopped for a DUI or OUI. However, you should be aware that there will be a mandatory loss of your Massachusetts driver’s license, so make sure you consider your options carefully. If you decide not to take the breath test, it cannot be at a trial. Additionally, the suspension of your license will depend on whether or not you have any prior refusals.
- Independent testing: It is your right to preserve the evidence used in your own defense and, therefore, you can make a request to have your samples independently tested. Make sure you handle this request with the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
DUI/OUI Defense Attorney in Quincy
If you are facing DUI or OUI charges in Massachusetts, you need to retain the skilled legal assistance of a criminal defense attorney. At Flanagan & Associates, our criminal defense team has the knowledge and experience that is necessary to effectively defend your rights and ensure you are able to achieve the most favorable results possible in your case. Do not risk losing your license or your freedom.
Get started on protecting your future and contact our law office today at (781) 332-4344 to request your free case evaluation.