If you're stopped by a police officer who suspects you of driving under the influence of alcohol, you may think you have no choice but to answer all their questions and subject yourself to field sobriety tests. However, it's important to know your rights in a situation like this. A DUI lawyer may help you understand what the police can and cannot make you do during a traffic stop.
Which Questions Do You Have to Answer?
When a police officer uses their siren to pull you over, you must stop your car to talk to them. However, you are only obligated to provide a minimal amount of information. Under the law, you must show the officer your car's registration and proof of insurance. Some states also have laws requiring you to show your identification, such as a driver's license or other photo ID, to prove your identity. However, you are not legally required to answer any other questions from a police officer during a traffic stop.
If a police officer suspects you of DUI, they might ask where you're coming from, where you're going, or whether you've been drinking. A defense lawyer may advise you not to answer questions like this because you don't want to give the police officer evidence against you. You're protected from self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, so you might want to simply tell the officer that you're invoking your right to refuse to answer their questions. Remain calm but firm and state that you won't be speaking without your attorney present.
Do You Have to Take Field Sobriety Tests?
A police officer who pulls you over under suspicion of DUI will likely want to collect evidence through the use of field sobriety tests, such as asking you to stand on one leg or walk in a straight line and walk back. It is your legal right to refuse to take these tests, and it may be in your best interest to do so in order to avoid giving them more evidence against you.
You can also legally refuse to take a roadside breath test. However, it's important to note that the police officer can still arrest you for DUI. Refusing to submit to tests can prevent police officers from obtaining evidence that you were driving under the influence, but you will still be subject to automatic penalties due to implied consent laws. Depending on the state, you could face a driver's license suspension of a year or more. It's wise to ask a DUI lawyer for advice about the best approach to take in your case.
If you've decided that you want to adopt a child, the first thing you should do is reach out to a family law attorney. While it may not seem logical to get an attorney involved from the start, it's important that you protect yourself legally from the beginning. After making the decision to adopt, I have been through the process several times. I created this site to help other adoptive parents understand what they can expect from the entire process, including the legal support you're likely to need. I hope this information helps you feel more confident in this major life decision.