Fredericksburg DUI Stops
Throughout their training and experience, Fredericksburg police officers, as well as Virginia State Police, are looking for a variety of factors when trying to detect potentially impaired drivers. They will conduct DUI stops in which they will question drivers that appear to be under the influence. They will ask them to perform certain field sobriety tests to determine their impairment. Many constitutional issues can arise during Fredericksburg DUI stops and it is important to work with a skilled DUI attorney to best understand your rights during a stop.
When making a DUI stop in Fredericksburg, law enforcement officers are looking for traffic violations primarily, as well as other violations, and driving behavior that is found to be associated, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration guideline, with impaired or drunk driving. This may include drifting within the lane, missing opportunities to turn headlights on, slow response time, driving too slow, weaving, or lack of responsiveness to signals.
At a DUI stop, the officer is going to ask certain questions and make certain observations to try to prove that the person is under the influence. They will ask where they are coming from, where they are going, for their license registration, and if they had anything to drink to try to use what is called “visual DUI” detection techniques to enhance their case.
If someone is stopped under suspicion of a DUI, an officer will likely ask them to perform field sobriety tests or FSTs. These are physical and/or mental tests designed to determine whether or not someone is impaired by drugs or alcohol. They may also offer a pulmonary breath test or PBT if they feel that someone is under the influence of alcohol.
By statute, the officer is required to offer the individual a preliminary breath test known as a PBT. These tests are voluntary and are not mandatory. However, the officers are not required to tell an individual that the field sobriety tests are voluntary and that an individual’s decision to refuse them will have no impact on their guilt or innocence.
They are required by statute to tell an individual that preliminary breath tests cannot be used against an individual at trial. That phrase has a specific meaning that an individual would want to talk about it with an experienced DUI attorney. An individual facing a Fredericksburg DUI stop cannot be compelled to submit to either the roadside PBT or the field sobriety tests, and an individual should exercise their right not to take these tests.
Implied consent is the Virginia law that says by virtue of being on a highway in Virginia, drivers are deemed to have given consent for testing of their breath or blood to be taken if they are arrested for a DUI.
The implied consent law creates certain permissive inferences under state law and creates the 0.08 standard. If someone is driving and their blood or breath tests are deemed to be 0.08 or above, there is permissive inference that they are in violation. If it is 0.05 or 0.07, there is no inference. If it is below 0.05, there is an inference that they are not in violation of the statute.
If someone is arrested for a DUI offense, their vehicle is going to be towed. They will likely do an inventory search in the vehicle. If the officer believes they may be under the influence of drugs, the officer may request for permission to search. If there is drug paraphernalia or other items in plain sight to give the officer probable cause, they may search the vehicle without consent. It is important to work with a DUI attorney if there are any issues of unconstitutional searches and seizures in Fredericksburg DUI stops.