Arrested for a DUI? Know Your Legal Rights
As a driver, you may have questions about your particular rights if you are pulled over, arrested for or charged with DUI (driving under the influence). As experienced attorneys who have more than 20 years of combined legal experience, including as former prosecutors, the team at Thomas & Paulk represents drivers in drunk driving-related cases throughout the Tampa area. Immediately contacting a lawyer at our offices is an important first step to take so you can get a better idea of what rights and options you have at this point in time. Here are a few helpful tips regarding your rights in relation to a DUI case:
- If you are pulled over for suspected drunk driving, you have the right to politely refuse field sobriety tests. You also have the right to refuse to answer any questions about where you have been, were you were going and how much you had to drink.
- You also have the right to refuse a portable roadside breath test after you are pulled over.
In refusing field sobriety tests or a
portable breath test, it is best to ask to speak with your lawyer first, rather than refusing outright. Though your refusal may be used against you, it is likely that a refusal will better support your innocence rather than taking the test or tests (which are known to be unreliable at best).
- If you are arrested, you have the right to remain silent. You do not have to submit to questioning.
- After a DUI arrest you also have the right to an attorney. Make sure you request to contact your lawyer as soon after your arrest as possible.
Taking full advantage of your rights is the most important thing you can do to positively influence the outcome of your case. Though the U.S. Constitution grants you these rights, you may find that they are threatened or violated outright if you do not have a criminal defense lawyer by your side. An overzealous arresting officer may fail to read you your Miranda rights. In your attempt to cooperate with law enforcement, you may agree to questioning and may say or do something that only supports the DUI charges against you. An attorney can properly handle every aspect of your case to ensure you are not taken advantage of and that law enforcement personnel and the prosecuting attorney abide by your constitutional rights.
Protecting Your Rights: Drunk Driving Arrests & Charges
Criminal charges pertaining to drunk driving are particularly complex. They deal with issues that are unique to driving under the influence, including blood and breath alcohol testing and field sobriety testing. Because our lawyers are fully trained and highly experienced in handling all types of DUI evidence, we are confident in our ability to properly assess the circumstances surrounding a client's arrest and testing in order to challenge the charges he or she may be facing.
You can learn more about your legal rights and your options in relation to a drunk driving arrest and DUI charges by calling our offices for a free initial case evaluation. In addition to answering your questions, we will be happy to address your concerns so you know what to expect and will be better prepared for what's to come. True, the future may seem uncertain - particularly if you "failed" or "refused" a test, but there are numerous ways that we may be able to challenge this evidence or other aspects of your charges by aggressively asserting your rights.