Even for those with run-ins with the law and knowing that you were caught red-handed, United States of America has laws that protect the rights of people being charged with a case. While there are instances where we do tend to drink too much and find ourselves behind the wheel, nothing excuses this behavior, and the law is there to protect the people. What you may not know, however, is that you have unique rights when it comes to operating or driving under the influence.
The apprehending officer who has stopped you for suspected DUI or OUI crimes pulled you over for a reason, and you will want to know your rights when you are pulled over. They are tasked to ask you certain questions as part and protocol of their profession, but there are things within your right to decline, as well as others that are not.
Here are some things that an officer may ask when you are suspected of being under the influence, and here are reasons why you may choose to stay silent as part of your rights:
“Have You Been Drinking?”
This question can have answers that can be incriminating, which means that you have the right to not answer the question when asked by law enforcement. This is basically the right to stay silent to avoid anything being used against you.
“Can I See Your Registration, Proof Of Insurance, And Your License?”
These are items you must provide to the law enforcement officer. Make sure they are in an easy to access location, such as your sun visor to avoid any mishaps and confusions about hidden weapons. You are not allowed to deny them of seeing the proper documents that prove you are legally allowed to drive.
“Please Step Out Of The Vehicle”
You do not have to comply with a police officer requesting you to exit your vehicle but do so in a kind and respectful manner. However, the moment they tell you that you are under arrest, you must comply with the officer’s request.
On Taking Field Sobriety Tests
By Massachusetts law, you cannot be forced to submit to field sobriety tests, and are in fact well-advised not to take them. You can decline these without any issues as your right. The eye test is a subjective test and has no real objective verification regarding driving performance. Walking-and-turning and the one-leg stand are practically impossible to perform during stressful situations and has proven to be extremely difficult whether alcohol has been consumed or not.
On Taking A Preliminary Breath Test
You have the right to not take this test. The results cannot be used against you and are usually utilized by the officer in his or her decision to arrest or not arrest a person. In the event that you decide to take the test, make sure that the officer agrees to show you the result.
Other Rights You Have In Massachusetts For DUI/OUI Suspicions
You always have the right to call and consult an attorney who specializes in DUI law once you are detained or arrested. However, in Massachusetts, law enforcement agents will not allow you to call an attorney before making your decision to take a breath test.
When it comes to chemical tests, the police station will decide whether they will request a urine or blood test. You have the right to say no to blood extraction, but refusal to taking tests can result in suspensions of driving privileges. If you are arrested for your first DUI and you refuse the test, driving privileges will be suspended for 180 days, with prior offenses warranting a longer suspension.
The law for DUIs and OUIs are explicitly drawn out and have been in effect for decades. Remember to always be responsible when drinking out and having to drive, as these can warrant harsh penalties depending on the gravity of the situation. Remember your rights when you are pulled over, keep calm and collected, and be respectful as much as possible. Do not forget to contact a criminal defense attorney to assist you with your dealings with the law.
The Fernandez Firm has some of the best criminal defense attorneys in Boston, Massachusetts. We aim to serve you and help you with dealing with the complications of the law and potentially damaging cases. Contact us for a free consultation today!