Even though it's never appropriate to drive under the influence, it's important to understand your legal rights so that you can make informed decisions.
With DUI checkpoints popular nationwide, you may be subject to police scrutiny after a few drinks. At some point, you may even have to decide whether to comply with a breathalyzer request or a field sobriety test.
If this is ever the case, this is what you need to know.
When you apply for a driver's license, you are implicitly consenting to submit to all requested field sobriety and breathalyzer tests.
You still have a legal right to refuse those tests. However, there will be consequences.
Refusing a field sobriety test will almost always result in the automatic suspension of your license for 6 to 12 months. If you've previously refused a breathalyzer or have a DUI, you may also spend a few days in jail, be subject to fines, and be forced to take alcohol-related classes.
In addition to the above punishments, you will be immediately detained.
Some people think that refusing a field sobriety test is their best bet, as it will take the police too much time to get a warrant for a blood draw.
Many states and local jurisdictions have on-call judges who can electronically issue a warrant for your blood. That could take less than an hour.
So, if you're pulled over for a possible DUI, consider the facts above and determine what's best for you. And if you happen to make the wrong decision, call a DUI attorney who can hopefully help you minimize any negative consequences.
- DUI Basics (FindLaw)
- Your Driver's License FAQ (FindLaw)
- Man Takes Last Swig before Sobriety Test (FindLaw's Legally Weird)
- Rachel Oberlin's (aka Bree Olson, Sheen 'Goddess') DUI Trial Set (FindLaw's Celebrity Justice)