Driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal in every state in the U.S. While many people drive after drinking and never get caught, the reality is that most eventually run into trouble with the law at some point in their lives. The following is an overview of how driving under the influence can affect your life and what happens if you refuse to take a breathalyzer test when stopped by police. If you have been charged with driving under the influence, it may be helpful to speak with a criminal defense attorney for advice.
What Happens In A DUI Traffic Stop?
Most drivers know not to drive when drunk. However, many drivers drive after having just a few drinks, not realizing that they may be over the legal limit of 0.08 percent blood alcohol content. If you are stopped on suspicion of drunk driving, the following things may occur:
The Officer Will Ask For Your Drivers License, Registration And
He Will Ask You If You Have Been Drinking
He Will Ask You To Step Out Of Your Car
He Will Ask You To Perform Sobriety Tests
He May Read You Your Rights
He Will Ask You To Perform A Breathalyzer Test
If You Are Over The Legal Limit He Will Place You Under Arrest
Your Care Will Be Impounded
You Will Be Taken Into Custody
What Is Implied Consent?
If you have a drivers license, you are consenting to willingly participate in any field sobriety test during a traffic stop. This is known as implied consent and places harsh penalties on drivers who refuse to submit to testing.
What Happens If You Refuse?
You can refuse to submit to the breathalyzer test or any other type of sobriety testing. However, it will almost certainly mean the automatic suspension of your drivers license and most likely a trip to jail depending on the laws in your state. On the upside, refusing to submit to testing does not give prosecutors a blood alcohol content and that may leave your lawyer room to get the charges reduced or dropped because the case is more difficult to prove.
No matter whether you decide to submit to sobriety testing or not, you should take care to avoid making any admissions of guilt that can be used later on in court. Even something that seems benign could come back to haunt you later.
What Can A Lawyer Do For You?
If you are facing drunken driving charges, it is usually best to hire a lawyer to represent you in court. A lawyer may be able to get charges reduced or dropped. If not, it may be possible to limit the damage to your driving record by obtaining legal counsel. If the following circumstances occurred in your case, your lawyer may be able to argue the validity of your case:
The Test Administered Was A Urine Test
You Have Witnesses To Testify You Did Not Have Much To Drink Prior To Being Stopped
You Were Not In Control Of The Car When You Were Stopped
A criminal defense lawyer may be able to help you negotiate a plea bargain in your DUI case. In some cases, prosecutors are willing to drop the charges to reckless driving if you blew a 0.09 percent and no one was injured in an accident due to your driving under the influence. Certain states have wet reckless laws that makes negotiating plea bargains in DUI cases easier. In most states, a wet reckless charges does not require the suspension of your driving privileges even if you hold a commercial drivers license also known as a CDL.
Contact a criminal defense lawyer today if you are facing driving under the influence charges to discuss the options you have available to you under the law. While it is possible to enter your own plea, hiring a lawyer to protect your interests may be the best way to minimize the damage to your driving record.
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