If you have ever had a run-in with law enforcement, you understand just how frightening of an experience this can be. What are my rights? Do I have to answer their questions? Should I invoke my right to remain silent? These are just a few of the questions that may run through your mind when involved in such a situation. If a law enforcement officer stops you for suspected drunk driving, it is imperative that you know what steps to take in order to safeguard your rights. Unfortunately, a number of drivers are unware of their rights, and thus, don't understand what they can do to protect them—which is true during the initial traffic stop and after an arrest has been made for DUI or OUI.
First and foremost, it is important to understand that you are not legally required to participate in any sort of field sobriety testing—including the one-leg stand, the horizontal gaze nystagmus or the walk and turn. These tests were designed to test a driver's physical and cognitive abilities, as both are typically impaired by the effects of alcohol; however, many are of the opinion that these tests were designed for failure. Even sober drivers can have a difficult time completing these tests, so it is important to remember that you have the right to decline participation. The same right does not apply to chemical testing, however, as you are legally required to submit a breath or blood sample when asked.
Next, it is important to understand that you have the right to challenge the validity of any evidence that is collected against you. If you blew over the legal limit when submitting to a breathalyzer test, for example, you should not assume that you will be convicted on this evidence alone. With the help of a Quincy OUI lawyer from Flanagan & Associates, you can challenge the validity of the results. There are a number of factors that could lead to an inaccurate blood alcohol content (BAC) reading, including improper administration or improper calibration, so you should never accept a plea bargain or plead guilty until you have had the chance to discuss your case with an attorney.
To learn more about your rights or discuss the details of your DUI/OUI arrest with a lawyer, contact the team at Flanagan & Associates today for a free consultation.