If you’re like many people, you have probably had that knot appear in your stomach as you saw flashing lights and heard sirens behind your car. Having a police officer pull you over for any reason is a nerve-racking situation. Even if you believe you have done nothing wrong, you worry about the consequences of this traffic stop. If an officer suspects you of driving under the influence, you will probably be asked to submit to a breathalyzer test or give other samples. You may wonder whether this is necessary and what your rights are. It’s important to understand how to respond in these situations.
What the Tests Do
A breathalyzer test measures the amount of alcohol a person has in his or her bloodstream. Urine samples and blood tests can reveal the same thing, though a breathalyzer is easier and more convenient to administer on the side of the road. Every state has a defined legal blood alcohol limit for drivers. Exceeding this limit can lead to penalties such as a ticket, suspended or revoked driving privileges, or jail time.
Do You Have to Comply?
Technically, you do have the right to refuse a breathalyzer test. The same goes for giving a blood or urine sample. In some states, officers may obtain warrants to force suspected drunk drivers to submit to the tests.
The Consequences of Refusing
If you wish to say no to a blood alcohol test to avoid incrimination, be prepared to face hefty penalties. These actions could result in losing your license for up to a year and spending weeks — or even months — in jail. If you refuse to submit a urine or blood sample at the police station, the penalties are even harsher.
The Wise Course
If an officer pulls you over and suspects that you have been drinking, you may be asked to submit to a breathalyzer test. If you know you have not had any alcohol, or if you have had a small amount, you should have nothing to worry about. Even if you know you are guilty and should not be behind the wheel, you should still go forward with the test. Chances are good that will face some unfortunate consequences, but the results will not be as significant than if you don’t comply with the tests.
If you have any concerns about a DUI arrest or the methods that police use to measure blood alcohol, speak with a DUI lawyer, like a DUI lawyer in Fairfax, VA. Your lawyer will help you understand your rights and the law.
Thanks to May Law, LLP for their insight into what your obligations are in a DUI case.