DUI traffic stops are being implemented across the state in order to crack down on intoxicated drivers. But while DUI traffic stops can be used to remove truly dangerous drivers from the road, what about all of the other drivers who are obeying the rules of the road? Are they at risk of having their rights violated at these traffic stops? In order to ensure that you are being treated fairly, know what rights you have when you are stopped at a DUI traffic stop.
In order to stop your car, a police officer must have a reason, or “probable cause,” to do so. While a truly intoxicated driver might be swerving around the roadway, a much smaller offense could serve as the officer’s probable cause: a broken headlight, a cracked window, even darkly tinted windows. It is wise to obey a police officer’s instructions and pull over to the side of the road.
Once you have pulled over your vehicle, it is important to be prepared. You should always have your registration and proof of insurance in an easy-to-access space in your car; you do not want to prolong the process by fumbling around in your glove compartment for loose papers. If it is dark out, you should also turn on your overhead light so that you are easily visible to the police officer; he or she will appreciate this extra indication of courtesy.
When your vehicle has been stopped by a police officer, you are only obligated by law to share information regarding your license, registration, and proof of insurance. You do not need to admit to anything and, in fact, should not admit to anything simply for the sake of expediting the process. You can respond to questions with your own inqueries in order to gain more insight. For example, if the officer asks whether or not you have been drinking, you can ask what makes he or she ask that question. Reply with questions or neutral responses in order to protect your rights and your potential future legal situation. If the officer requests that you perform a field sobriety test, this is also something that you may either do or decline to do- it is not your legal obligation to perform a field sobriety test. Remain polite, cooperative, and aware of your rights, and your DUI traffic stop does not have to be a problematic experience.
Bruce Robinson & Associates is a criminal defense law firm based in Baltimore, MD. If you have been accused of criminal actions and need to seek aggressive counsel, Robinson & Associates is here to help. For more information and to schedule your free consultation, give Robinson & Associates a call at 443-524-7395 or visit us at www.marylandcriminallawyer.com. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.