If you've been arrested for driving under the influence, you must make it a priority to get legal representation. The laws that surround this issue contain strict punishments; punishments that could mean a loss of your right to drive a car, expensive fines and court costs, and sometimes even jail time. On the other hand, the way that your arrest unfolded could mean that you were arrested without cause. Read on to learn about one aspect of this complicated area of law: implied consent.
What is implied consent?
This law makes a lot of assumptions, one of the main ones being that your use of the highways and byways automatically make you subject to certain stops, searches, and testing. If you are stopped and asked to submit to DUI testing, do you have the right to refuse? You do, but it may cost you.
The key area of contention might be probable cause. If a law enforcement officer says they had probable cause to conduct DUI tests (breathalyzer, blood, and urine tests), then you are usually required by law to comply with such testing or risk severe penalties. Probable cause varies, but for those suspected of being under the influence of alcohol it might look like this:
1. Observations: the law enforcement officer observed you slurring your speech, smelled the odor of alcohol, saw an open container in your vehicle, or other behavioral clues.
2. Driving: the law enforcement officer observed you swerving, not staying in your lane, driving far too slowly, failing to move forward at green lights or stops signs, and more.
3. Violations: you can commit a driving offense, such as failing to signal, without being under the influence, but that alone is enough for the officer to make the stop. Any failure to abide by the traffic rules can gain the officer probable cause.
4. Accidents: if you've been involved in an accident, regardless of the cause or circumstances, DUI could be suspected and probable cause exists.
5. Field sobriety testing: you've probably seen the three main tests of sobriety, the walk-and-spin, the horizontal gaze nystagmus, and the one-legged stand. Failing any of these give the officer probable cause to proceed with the more invasive blood, breath, and urine tests.
What if you refuse testing?
This is one area where it may not pay to be defiant. While state law in this regard varies, you may end up losing your driver's license if you refuse testing. This suspension could be longer than if you had it suspended for DUI. Given that surprising fact, you may have to go along with testing and fight the charges later.
Every moment of your DUI arrest can be picked apart by a skilled DUI defense attorney, from the reason for the stop to the validity of any testing performed. No matter how your arrest went down, seek professional legal help right away and get your charges reduced or dropped. For more advice, contact a law office like Law Offices of Alyson L. Sommers, P.A. Criminal Defense Attorney.Share