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Understanding your rights during a traffic stop

On Behalf of | Jun 19, 2023 | DUI/DWI/Drunk Driving

police lights

The police have a right to perform traffic stops. They’ll typically do a traffic stop when there’s reasonable suspicion that a driver is violating the law or will commit a criminal act. 

One reason the police pull drivers over is because there’s a suspicion of drunk driving. This happens when the police notice a driver leaving a bar or a vehicle swerving between lanes or running stop signs. 

If you’re ever in a traffic stop, then you may need to learn about your legal rights. Here’s what you should know:

The Fifth Amendment

The police will likely ask you several questions to determine if you’re inebriated or violating any laws. For example, the police may ask where you were or if you’ve consumed any alcohol or drugs. 

While you can answer these questions, it may result in a criminal charge if you aren’t careful. If you don’t know what to say, you can refuse to answer any questions by pleading the Fifth. The Fifth Amendment protects people from self-incrimination. 

Implied consent laws

You also may be asked to do a sobriety test. Sometimes the police will have a driver do a standardized field sobriety test, which is a kind of physical examination. Typically, the police will ask drivers to take a chemical breath test to determine their blood alcohol content. 

You may wonder if the police have a right to test whether you are drunk. Under implied consent laws, refusing a chemical test could lead to immediate license suspension, fines and even incarceration. If you’re uncomfortable taking a breath test, you could ask to do a urine or blood test at a police station or hospital. 

It’s important to understand your rights during a traffic stop. If you’re charged with a DUI offense, then you may need to learn your options for a legal defense.