Driving under the influence is a serious offense in Texas, with penalties ranging from costly fines to prison time. While you should never get behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking, it’s still important to know what to do (and what not to do) during a drunk driving stop.
Everyone deserves fair and just treatment under the law. Providing legal guidance in Orange, TX, for over 20 years, The Bearden Law Firm strives to safeguard your rights, assist you in making knowledgeable decisions, and guarantee that your words benefit you instead of harming you.
Anytime you’re dealing with law enforcement, it’s critical to consider your words and actions and how they may impact your legal case. At a DUI or DWI stop, every word you say can significantly impact the outcome of your encounter and affect your case later on.
Understanding what not to say and how to navigate the situation can be the difference between a successful defense and a challenging legal battle. Knowing your rights and staying calm and respectful will help you navigate a stressful situation and safeguard your rights.
Before getting into what you shouldn’t say during a drunk driving stop, it’s essential to understand your rights and responsibilities when dealing with law enforcement. Knowledge is power and your best defense in these situations.
- The Right to Remain Silent: You have the right to say nothing and remain silent. You are not obligated to answer potentially incriminating questions, and you can politely and respectfully assert this right if you choose not to answer.
- The Right to Refuse Field Sobriety Tests: In Texas, you are entitled to decline field sobriety tests, like standing on one leg or walking backward. These tests aren’t governed by implied consent laws.
- Implied Consent Laws: In Texas, you may be compelled to produce breath, blood, or urine for testing if the officer has probable cause to believe that you are driving under the influence. This is known as implied consent, as your consent is required to obtain a driver’s license and operate a vehicle in the state.
Remember that while you have the right to remain silent and refuse certain tests, you must cooperate with providing your identification and driver’s license when requested.
During a DUI or DWI stop, your words and actions are under scrutiny. Unfortunately, many people unknowingly or unintentionally make these common mistakes that end up hurting their case in the long run.
Here are some things you should avoid saying or doing during a drunk driving stop.
One of the most critical mistakes is admitting to drinking or using drugs. While it’s important to be honest, you should avoid volunteering incriminating information. For example, don’t apologize or admit that you have been drinking. Avoid answering questions about how much you’ve had to drink.
Avoid saying anything that could incriminate you, such as “I’ve had a few drinks” or “I’m not sure if I’m okay to drive.” These statements could become evidence against you, even if you’re trying to minimize the situation.
Don’t provide unnecessary details about your activities or whereabouts or discuss your personal life. Just stick to the basics and avoid oversharing information.
Arguing with the officer or becoming combative about the situation is never a good idea. Doing so will only escalate things and create more problems. Even statements like “I know my rights” can be perceived as confrontational and won’t help you in the long run.
Always stay calm and respectful throughout the encounter.
While you have rights, being uncooperative can cause problems and may lead to your arrest and other legal consequences. It’s possible to protect your rights while also cooperating with the officer’s requests.
While you have the right to an attorney, saying you want to talk to them during the stop may not be the best course of action. Requesting a lawyer is often seen as a sign of guilt, so it’s usually best to consult your attorney after the initial stop.
One of the most crucial steps you can take during a DUI stop is invoking your right to an attorney. Understanding when and how to do this is essential for protecting your rights and ensuring a fair legal process.
You have the right to speak to an attorney before answering any questions beyond basic identification. So, if you’re arrested and being questioned at the police station, politely but firmly state that you wish to speak with an attorney.
Once you’ve made a request for a lawyer, law enforcement should not continue questioning you. If they persist, calmly reassert your request, and be sure to tell your attorney when they arrive.
Encountering a DUI or DWI stop can be an incredibly stressful experience. But with the knowledge of your rights, responsibilities, and common mistakes you should avoid, you can significantly improve your chances of a positive outcome. Just remember that every word you say and each action you take during a stop can influence the legal proceedings that follow.
If you’ve found yourself facing a DUI or DWI charge or other criminal defense matters in Orange, TX, seeking legal counsel to protect your rights and future is essential. The Bearden Law Firm is here to offer expert guidance and representation in these areas. Jim Bearden and the entire team have a proven track record of successfully defending Texas clients in such circumstances.
Don’t face the legal complexities of a drunk driving case alone. Contact The Bearden Law Firm today to ensure your rights are safeguarded. Your future is worth fighting for, and we’re here to help you every step of the way. Call us at 409-883-4501 for a free consultation.