What Happens During a DUI Stop?

A DUI (Driving Under the Influence) stop is a critical moment during which law enforcement officers assess a driver's sobriety and potential impairment due to alcohol or drugs. These stops aim to ensure road safety and deter drunk or impaired driving. If you've ever wondered what happens during a DUI stop or want to be prepared in case you're ever pulled over, this blog will guide you through the typical process.

Initial Traffic Stop:

A DUI stop begins like any routine traffic stop. An officer may pull you over for a traffic violation, such as speeding, running a red light, or swerving between lanes. Once you are pulled over, the officer will approach your vehicle and request your driver's license, registration, and proof of insurance.

Officer Observation:

During the initial interaction, the officer will observe your behavior, looking for signs of impairment. Slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, the smell of alcohol or drugs, and difficulty in producing requested documents are common indicators that may raise suspicions.

Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs):

If the officer suspects impairment, they may ask you to perform standardized field sobriety tests (FSTs). These tests evaluate your coordination, balance, and cognitive abilities. Common FSTs include the one-leg stand, walk-and-turn, and horizontal gaze nystagmus (eye movement) test.

Preliminary Breath Test (PBT):

In some states, officers may administer a preliminary breath test (PBT) during the DUI stop. The PBT is a handheld breathalyzer used to estimate your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). However, the results of the PBT are generally not admissible as evidence in court, and you may have the right to refuse this test, depending on your jurisdiction.

Probable Cause for Arrest:

If the officer has sufficient evidence to believe you are driving under the influence, they may have probable cause to make an arrest. Probable cause can be based on your performance in FSTs, the odor of alcohol, slurred speech, or a combination of these factors.

Arrest and Chemical Testing:

Upon arrest, you will be taken to a police station, detention center, or hospital for a chemical test, such as a breath, blood, or urine test. Refusing to take a chemical test can result in administrative penalties, such as license suspension, depending on your state's implied consent laws.

Miranda Rights:

During the DUI stop, the officer may read you your Miranda rights if they intend to question you while in custody. The Miranda rights inform you of your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney. Anything you say during custodial questioning without first being informed of these rights may not be admissible as evidence in court.

Booking and Release:

After the chemical test and processing, you may be booked into custody. Depending on the jurisdiction and the severity of the offense, you may be held in custody until your arraignment or released on bail.

Remember Your Rights:

During a DUI stop, it is essential to be aware of your rights:

Right to Remain Silent: You have the right to remain silent and not incriminate yourself.

Right to an Attorney: You have the right to an attorney, and it is advisable to contact one before answering any questions.

Right to Refuse Field Sobriety Tests: You generally have the right to refuse FSTs, but this may lead to an arrest based on other evidence of impairment.

Right to Refuse Preliminary Breath Test: Depending on your jurisdiction, you may have the right to refuse the PBT.

A DUI stop can have severe consequences, but being well-informed and prepared can help you protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome. Remember to stay calm, exercise your rights responsibly, and contact an experienced DUI defense attorney without delay.

At Law Office of Stephen R. Leffler, P.C., we specialize in providing comprehensive legal support during DUI stops. Our skilled attorneys are dedicated to protecting your rights and building a robust defense strategy tailored to your case.

Contact us today for a free consultation and let us guide you through this challenging process.

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