What To Do At a DUI Traffic Stop

The occurrence of a DUI traffic stop.

If you get pulled over by the police for a DUI traffic stop, your words and actions may play a significant role in determining the outcome. Knowing what to do at a DUI traffic stop is extremely important. Based on our decades of experience representing defendants in DUI cases, the DUI defense attorneys at Criminal & DUI of Georgia explain how to approach a DUI stop in this article.

During the Stop

As soon as you see flashing lights behind you, turn on your right-turn signal to show your intention of pulling over at the first safe opportunity. After you stop, do not exit your vehicle, unless police direct you to get out of the car. Open your window and wait for the police to approach you.

Have your driver’s license and proof of insurance ready to show when requested. You must identify yourself when asked. Be polite and cooperative in your exchanges, but know your rights and exercise them.

Know Your Rights

You always have specific constitutional rights when interacting with law enforcement, even before police are required to advise you of those rights prior to custodial interrogation.

One of the most important rights is your Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate yourself. That means you have the right to remain silent, except that (as mentioned above) you do need to identify yourself and provide your identification. Beyond that, you do not have to answer questions from the police and can exercise your right to remain silent.

If you voluntarily answer questions or make statements, what you say can be used against you as the basis for arrest, in a later court proceeding, or for any other reason. Georgia has a separate constitutional provision stating that you cannot be compelled to perform acts, such as field sobriety evaluations.

You also have the right to legal representation during police questioning after an arrest. When you exercise that right, they should stop questioning you, but police do not have to stop the investigation and arrest process to get you a lawyer. If the police read the implied consent warning asking you to submit to a chemical test, a request to talk to a lawyer will be considered a test refusal by the requesting officer. Test refusal may substantially impact your driving privileges.

When you are processed at the jail, you will be asked questions about your date of birth, address, and other identifying and contact information. If you refuse to provide this information, you will most likely be held in jail a lot longer than you would be if you provide the requested identifying information. Even if you provide the information, you should still refuse to answer questions about your arrest or your case.

If an officer asks whether they may search your vehicle, you should politely decline. You do not have to consent to a search. If you consent, anything they find will be admissible in court. If you do not consent, they may decide to conduct a search anyhow. You should not resist or interfere in a search. In some cases, your lawyer may be able to challenge the propriety of the search in court if incriminating evidence is located.

Alcohol or Testing After a DUI Stop

Your rights relating to roadside testing after a DUI stop involve complicated legal issues. While you do not need to respond to questions from police, you do need to decide whether to refuse or comply with an officer’s request to take tests designed to indicate alcohol or drug use. How you respond can have a significant effect on the outcome of a DUI arrest.

There are several types of roadside sobriety tests that police may want to conduct at a DUI stop. While you can refuse roadside sobriety tests prior to an arrest, police may still decide to arrest you for DUI based on other evidence that they collect during the stop.

If you are placed under arrest, Georgia has an implied consent law that applies to testing for alcohol or drugs after an arrest. The law states that by driving on a Georgia highway, you agree to take a blood or urine test for alcohol or drugs after you are arrested. If you refuse at that point, you may subject yourself to an administrative license suspension penalty that is separate from any DUI charge.

For the implied consent law to apply in your case, police must read you an implied consent notice that tells you about your rights relating to chemical tests, including what happens if you refuse. The notice also advises you that you are entitled to request a separate independent test.

The legal issues surrounding any type of testing after a DUI stop are complex, whether you refuse or submit to tests requested by the police. These issues are one of the most important reasons to get help from an experienced DUI attorney in any case where you face a DUI charge.

Defending Against a DUI Charge

Regardless of what happens during your DUI stop, you should contact a knowledgeable DUI lawyer at the earliest opportunity. The potential criminal penalties, along with the possible administrative penalty for test refusal and other long-term consequences, are significant for any DUI conviction.

A DUI attorney draws on a wide range of potential defenses to a DUI charge, based on the facts and circumstances surrounding the specific arrest. The sooner you talk to a lawyer, the better chance you have of aggressively fighting the charge against you.

Talk with an Experienced Georgia DUI Defense Lawyer

Our criminal and DUI defense lawyers at The McCoy Law Firm, LLC have decades of experience representing defendants facing DUI charges in northwest Georgia. If you need representation on a DUI charge, please contact Criminal & DUI Law of Georgia, so we can begin working on your case right away.

Categories: DUI