If you are pulled over by a police officer for drunk driving, you need to know your rights. You have certain rights to protect yourself from incrimination, but it can be easy to provide information that can be used against you in court. Learn more about how to exercise your rights to protect yourself from DUI charges.
If you are pulled over for a DUI, the office must have a probable cause. This can include seeing you leave a bar, driving erratically, failing to stop, or driving aggressively. Once you are pulled over, the officer will look for further clues of intoxication, including:
- Inability to maintain eye contact or a conversation
- Slurred speech
- The smell of alcohol on your breath
- Bloodshot eyes
- Comments about coming from a bar or party
If you exhibit any of the above signs, the officer may use them as a reason to subject you to a field sobriety test or a breath test. The office only needs to suspect that you are intoxicated to administer these tests, so it is important to refrain from giving them further cause for suspicion.
Should You Answer Questions?
When you are stopped, the officer will ask questions to look for clues of impairment or proof you have been drinking. You have the right to remain silent and protect yourself, but refusing to speak can cause you to be seen as uncooperative. Instead of refusing to speak, remain polite and answer questions vaguely. Do not provide concrete information about where you are coming from or how much you’ve had to drink. Telling them these answers will only provide them probable cause to further test you for impairment or to arrest you.
Can You Avoid Field Sobriety Tests or Chemical Tests?
You do have the right to refuse a field sobriety test or chemical test. If you do, however, Oregon’s implied consent law requires that your license be suspended. Implied consent laws state, if pulled over by an officer with probable cause to believe you are driving impaired, you automatically consent to take a breath or blood test to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC) level. This test must be given as close as possible to when you were driving to ensure accuracy.
The officer must inform you of the consequences of refusing the test. If they fail to do so, you can fight your license suspension by alleging that you did not know the consequences of refusing a test because you were not informed. The officer cannot make you perform the test if you refuse it, but they can immediately suspend your license and provide you with a permit and information on your hearing to challenge your suspension.
Your Miranda Rights
You will only be informed of your rights after you have been taken into custody. You will not be informed of your right to remain silent if you have only been stopped, but you still are able to exercise this right. Be polite and respectful in your conversation with the officer, but do not disclose any information that can incriminate you. If you are arrested and read your Miranda rights, you may then request to speak to an attorney and remain silent.
If you are facing DUI charges, you need skilled legal representation from an experienced Portland DUI lawyer. Our experienced legal team has been serving Portland since 2006, and we believe in empathy, individual rights, and setting our clients up to be their best selves. We will work tirelessly to provide you with personalized legal solutions and caring client service while we defend your rights. Contact the Law Office of Graham C. Fisher today for a free consultation.