Suspicion of driving under the influence can come with significant consequences, so it’s always best to make other arrangements for transportation if you’ve had too much to drink. The Arizona DUI Task Force is looking for impaired drivers across the state, meaning you could be targeted for a roadside checkpoint or pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving. Unfortunately, some Arizona drivers are mistreated when being investigated for possible drunk driving, and this can lead to illegal searches, detainment, and arrests. This is why it’s not only essential to know your rights, but also to follow some guidelines if you’ve been pulled over for suspected drunk driving.
As with any traffic stop, you should only pull over in a safe manner. This means using your turn signals and looking out for traffic. Far too often, people panic when they see red and blue lights behind them, and this panic can lead to erratic driving. You should also pull over in a spot where you are not impeding traffic and where an officer can safely reach your vehicle.
Another mistake that drivers make when being pulled over after drinking any alcohol is to assume that they are automatically guilty of drunk driving. Arizona imposes a limit of .08 on blood alcohol concentration, so if you are not at or above that limit, you are not considered to be a drunk driver. As a result, take a moment to calm down and consider how much you have had to drink and how long it has been since you had your first drink and your last.
Regardless of how much you have had to drink, you need to avoid making incriminating statements. You are protected under federal law from doing so, and once again, you may not be thinking clearly due to being pulled over. You are free to invoke your fifth amendment right to remain silent under questioning to avoid making incriminating statements. If you do not wish to answer questions, you do not have to answer questions. This, however, may still lead to an arrest, but you may have an easier time in court if you refuse to incriminate yourself.
Always remember that the officer who pulled you over is merely doing his or her job to keep the public safe. He or she is investigating what is believed to be the actions of someone who is driving under the influence, but mere suspicion does not prove that you are intoxicated. If you choose to respond to questions, answer politely and respectfully. Do not argue and do not become combative. Doing so will likely only make the situation worse.
In Arizona, the law requires drivers to take a field sobriety test if an officer has reasonable suspicion that the driver is intoxicated. While you do have the option to deny a request to take a field sobriety test, doing so is typically looked at as an admission of guilt and can provide an officer with enough cause to arrest you. If you choose to take any field sobriety tests, make sure you clearly understand all of the instructions provided. If you are unclear on an instruction, ask the officer to politely repeat it or to demonstrate the exercise. Regardless of the outcome of any administered tests, cooperation can go a long way in how you are treated.
Arizona’s breathalyzer laws require an arrest to be made prior to a breath test being conducted. This does not mean, however, that refusing a test before an arrest will help you to get out of taking the test. If you are asked to take a breath test before an arrest, and you refuse, you will likely be arrested for intoxicated driving and then will be required to submit to the test. If you still refuse, an officer may put in a request for a blood test in which you will be forced to provide a sample. Keep in mind that, even if you aren’t guilty, refusing a breath test after arrest will result in the suspension of your driver’s license.
If you are believed to be driving over the legal limit, you will be arrested and charged with driving under the influence. At this point, regardless of guilt, you need to comply with all reasonable and legal requests. You may be handcuffed while under arrest, and you need to be informed of your rights going forward. It may be a good idea to remain silent from the moment you are arrested so as not to make any incriminating statements, especially if you are innocent.
When you are given the chance, you need to contact a DUI attorney for guidance going forward. Your attorney can provide you with options that apply to your specific circumstances and can represent you in all legal matters pertaining to your case. He or she can also investigate any illegal searches or treatment on behalf of officers involved in your arrest to ensure that you were and had been treated fairly under the law. Remember that your guilt needs to be proven in court, and until that point, you should enjoy the presumption of innocence.
If you’ve been arrested for a DUI in the Mesa, Arizona area, contact criminal defense attorney David Cantor. Specializing in DUI cases, David Cantor is a Mesa DUI lawyer who understands the state’s legal system and can fight for your rights. He and his staff work tirelessly to defend drivers who have faced DUI and other criminal charges, and he investigates each aspect of a case to ensure that justice is served.
To learn more about how a Mesa DUI lawyer with the DM Cantor can help you receive fair legal treatment and beat your DUI, call 602-307-0808 or visit dmcantor.com now for a consultation.