A DUI arrest places a suspect’s important constitutional rights at stake. In the confusion and anxiety of an arrest, it can be difficult to know what to do in order to protect these rights. By learning about the process and legal rights, suspects will be better prepared to make it through the arrest process without impairing their chances for a fair case. Suspects should also contact a DUI defense attorney as soon as possible after any arrest. The sooner an attorney is involved in a case, the better able he or she will be able to protect the defendant’s constitutional rights.
You Have the Right to Remain Silent – Use It!
Thanks to popular television shows, most Americans are familiar with their Miranda rights. Unfortunately, they don’t always know what this means. The right to remain silent extends beyond answering those questions which are obviously incriminating (such as “did you commit this murder?”). Police officers at DUI checkpoints are fond of asking drivers whether they have been drinking. This seemingly simple inquiry is an incriminating question. Drivers are protected from having to answer this question by their Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. They should invoke this privilege by politely declining to answer this – or any other – incriminating questions.
Of course, it can be difficult to know whether a question is incriminating or not. If you are not sure whether a question might be incriminating, it is best to decline to answer it without a lawyer present. Always be polite and respectful when declining to answer an officer’s questions. Many of the recent tragic cases involving police violence occur as a result of a power struggle between the officer and the suspect. Do not engage in such a power struggle. Politely invoke your right to silence. Follow other directions, such as where to go and how to complete the booking process. Never argue with an officer.
Drivers Have Already Given Legal Consent to Alcohol Tests
Many DUI suspects are surprised to learn that they have already given legal consent to alcohol tests. Georgia’s implied consent law is codified at Section 40-5-67.1 the Georgia Code. Like other implied consent laws, this statute creates a legal presumption that drivers who exercise the privilege of operating a motor vehicle within the state give consent to a physical or chemical test to determine the presence of alcohol or controlled substances in their bodies. Such testing must be performed incidental to a lawful arrest, and the officer must have reasonable cause to believe that the driver was in actual physical control of the motor vehicle while under the influence of alcoholic beverages or controlled substances. Once these criteria are met, the driver’s consent to blood or breath tests may be presumed by law.
The Right Attorney for Your Georgia DUI Case
Attorney Jacob Stidham represents DUI defendants in Buford, Suwanee, Gainesville, and Flowery Branch. He practices only criminal law and devotes his practice to the effective protection of defendants’ constitutional rights. Call 678-889-7953 today to schedule a consultation with an experienced DUI attorney.