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Loudoun DUI Stops: The Basics

Loudoun County law enforcement officers—whether they are the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office or Virginia State Police —are looking for reasonable, articulable suspicion that somebody is driving under the influence of alcohol.

In order to support this suspicion, the officers will look for a number of different things. This may include:

  • Equipment violations, such as broken tail lights or broken head lights.
  • Registration issues, such as an expired registration, expired tags, or expired license plates.
  • Violations of traffic laws, such as failing to maintain a lane, speeding, or driving too slowly.

This is in addition to other common DUI enforcement techniques, such as investigating accidents, investigating hit and runs, and responding to anonymous calls reporting impaired drivers.

If you are suspected and pulled over for any of these reasons, it is important you consult with a Loudoun County DUI attorney as soon as possible so they may begin compiling the facts and circumstances of your stop and being building a defense. To learn more schedule a free consultation today.

What Does a Typical DUI Stop Look Like

After the officer makes his or her stop, the typical Loudoun County DUI stop will go as follows:

The officer will come to the vehicle and ask for license and registration. If the officer smells the odor of alcohol at that time, he or she will ask questions such as where the driver was coming from, where he was going, and how much he had to drink, if anything.

At that point, depending on the answers to the questions, an officer will likely ask the driver to step out of the vehicle. The officer would observe the physical characteristics of the driver as he gives his license and registration, answers questions, and physically steps out of the vehicle.

Next, the officer will ask the person other questions to ascertain the driver’s ability to perform field sobriety tests and the officer will want him to do so. Then the officer will typically ask the person to submit to a field sobriety tests. The officer will not tell the person that he has the right to refuse the field sobriety tests.

And after that, the officer will typically ask the person if he’ll give a preliminary breath sample, often known as a PBT. The officer will typically tell the person that the results of PBT are not for the court; they’re only to be used to assist the officer in deciding whether to make the arrest.

The officer will not typically tell the person that he has the absolute right to refuse a PBT.  After all this is done, the officer will make the decision whether or not to make the arrest.

Vehicle Searches During Loudoun DUI Stops

Depending on the type of DUI search, the officer may ask for consent to search the vehicle. If the person is arrested after the encounter with the officer, the officer will likely request impound of the vehicle and make a search incident to arrest or an inventory search. However, if the officer wants to search the vehicle prior to making an arrest then you always have the right to refuse to give the officer consent to search your vehicle.

Can You Speak With a Lawyer During a DUI Stop?

You can ask to speak to a lawyer during a DUI stop. Typically, the officer will not stop the DUI investigation to allow you to speak with a lawyer. However, you certainly have the right to request to speak to one and refuse to answer any questions and perform any field sobriety test until you consult with your lawyer.

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Northern Virginia Criminal Defense Group
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