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Your Rights at an Arlington DUI Stop

When a person is involved in an Arlington DUI stop, it is important that they understand their legal rights in order to avoid doing anything that could end up hurting their case in court, should they be charged. These rights include the right to remain silent and the right to refuse any physical or mental tests, such as a field sobriety test or a preliminary breath test. Although a person is not constitutionally bound to exit their vehicle for questions, they are  not required to do anything else, unless the officer chooses to place them in custody.

Additionally, anyone can contact an attorney and have an Arlington DUI attorney present when being asked questions. When a person answers all of the police’s questions, they waive this right, so if they want to use their right to an attorney it, they must invoke it.

What Are a Driver’s Miranda Rights?

When a person thinks of their rights at an Arlington DUI stop, it is a common misconception that a person must be read their Miranda rights during a stop. In fact, there is a very low percentage of cases in which Miranda rights would apply at a DUI stop in Arlington. The evidence being gathered is not testimonial in nature, and a person is not under arrest, in custody, or the in custodial equivalent of an arrest.

Miranda applies if the officers are grilling a person after they have already been arrested for suspicion of DUI, such as while the law enforcement officials are transporting the defendant to the local adult detention center.

If a person is not given Miranda rights during the roadside investigation prior to DUI arrest, nothing illegal is happening. There are, however, circumstances in which Miranda must be read during the DUI case, including if a person is asking if they are free to leave, if they are clearly detained, and in other unique scenarios.

Vehicle Searches

Part of a person’s rights at an Arlington DUI stop includes that they do not need to consent to the search of their vehicle if they are arrested for suspicion of DUI. Officers, however, likely do not need consent to search a vehicle if a person has been arrested for suspicion of DUI. There are two situations that allow for a search of the vehicle if a person is arrested for suspicion of DUI:

  • Law enforcement may conduct a search incident to an arrest
  • DUI cases are often subject to the vehicle being towed

There are certainly exceptions to the consent requirement, most notably a probable cause or any urgent situation or emergency; however, during a normal course of a traffic stop, simply being stopped for a violation such as speeding, weaving within a lane, or even being in a car accident does not mean a person has to give consent for law enforcement to search their vehicle.

Is it Legal for a Police Officer to Search a Vehicle After a DUI Arrest in Arlington?

The search incident to an arrest actually means that if a person is arrested for suspicion of criminal activity and there is a probable cause for that arrest and probable cause also to continue the search, then there are grounds for a search incident to arrest. This is for safety purposes and to look for contraband associated with the arrest.

Towed Vehicle

DUI cases often are subject to the vehicle being towed. If a person’s vehicle is towed, there is something that can be done called an inventory search.

An inventory search is done before the tow truck accesses the vehicle. This is for the protection of both the arrested individual and the officer in cases when the vehicle arrives at impound and there are items found that were put in there by someone else between the time of the arrest and the impounding of the vehicle. This also allows law enforcement the opportunity to search the vehicle for illegal items.

Contacting a Lawyer

Prior to a person’s DUI arrest, they have very few rights other than a common right as for all citizens. After their DUI arrest, however, they certainly have extended rights associated with the rights given to any person who is placed under arrest for suspicion of a criminal offense, which would include the right to counsel and the right to Miranda warnings.

Northern Virginia Criminal Defense Group

Northern Virginia Criminal Defense Group
Northern Virginia Criminal Defense Group
18 Liberty St SW

Leesburg VA 20175
Times: 7am to 11pm - Mon to Sun
Northern Virginia Criminal Defense Group
32 Waterloo St

Warrenton VA 20186
Times: 7am to 11pm - Mon to Sun
Northern Virginia Criminal Defense Group
9119 Church Street

Manassas VA 20110
Times: 7am to 11pm - Mon to Sun
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