Loudoun DUI Stops: Know Your Rights
As a Loudoun County DUI lawyer can tell you, the biggest mistakes to avoid in DUI stops are performing field sobriety tests, making admissions that are against your best interests, and performing the PBT test. All three of these are the three main weapons that the prosecution will have at trial to try to prove that you were guilty of DUI. However, if you fail to perform these tests, you will not incriminate yourself as severely and you may have created defenses for your case.
Is It Legal If I Was Not Read My Miranda Rights At A DUI Stop?
Yes. This is a common misconception. People watch TV, they read the papers, they watch movies, and yet they do not have a proper legal understanding of what Miranda is. Miranda v. Arizona is a U.S. Supreme Court case that discusses when a person must be informed of his or her rights.
In the context of a DUI stop, Miranda rights do not kick in until a person is placed under arrest. During the investigatory period, Miranda does not apply, so an individual will not be read Miranda rights until they’re arrested for suspicion of DUI.
If someone is arrested for suspicion of DUI and the officer wants to ask them questions pertaining to the DUI offense, then he or she should read them Miranda prior to asking them questions that are potentially incriminating. If you’re not read Miranda but you’re further questioned after being placed under arrest, you should tell this to your attorney right away.
Your Rights During a DUI Stop
Your rights during a DUI stop are to be free of unreasonable search and seizure. What this means is that you certainly must comply with all legal requirements by law enforcement, such as providing your license and registration and following any requests to step out of the vehicle.
However, you do not have to give further information, such as where you’re coming from, where you’re going, if you’ve consumed alcohol, and how much alcohol you consumed. You also do not have to perform field sobriety tests or take a preliminary breath test. You should and have the absolute right to politely refuse all of those questions.
Your Rights After a DUI Arrest
Immediately after a DUI arrest, you will likely be read your Miranda rights. You will be taken before a magistrate and right before you go to the magistrate you will be taken before an EC/IR2 machine. You have the right to refuse the blood or breath test, however, the refusal of the blood or breath test after your arrest will have consequences. Virginia Code Section 18.2-268.3 covers unreasonable refusal. If you refuse after being properly arrested for a DUI, you may be charged with unreasonable refusal. Unreasonable refusal for a first offense is a civil violation, however, it’s a very serious violation and the penalty is one year of loss of license.