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Published on November 29, 2023

What are Your Legal Rights During a DUI Arrest?

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charges can have severe consequences, making it crucial to understand your rights if you find yourself facing a DUI arrest. This article will explain how your DUI charges can be lessened by investigating the key stages of a DUI arrest. Understanding your rights is imperative when attempting to navigate this complex legal process.

How can your DUI Charges be Reduced or Dropped?

Despite the severity of a DUI charge, it is important to note that giving up and pleading guilty is not always the best course of action. An experienced Tacoma DUI lawyer can help reduce or avoid automatic license suspensions and penalties by representing your best interest. This occurs both in the courtroom and at the initial Department of Licensing hearing. The key is investigate any errors or procedural mistakes made by examining the police report for your specific case. Here are a few examples of key areas in a DUI charge:

The Initial Stop

DUI stops are often triggered by observable behaviors, such as erratic driving or traffic violations. Law enforcement plays a critical role in initiating these stops, and it’s essential to understand the circumstances under which they can pull you over. Knowing your rights at this initial stage can set the tone for the rest of the process.

Field Sobriety Tests and Preliminary Breath Test (PBT)

When pulled over for suspected DUI, officers may ask you to perform field sobriety tests like the walk-and-turn or one-leg stand. It’s crucial to recognize that these tests are voluntary, and you have the right to decline without legal consequences. Understanding the voluntary nature of these tests can empower you to make informed decisions in the heat of the moment.

At the scene, officers may also administer a Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) using a handheld breathalyzer. Unlike chemical tests conducted at the police station, PBT results are generally not admissible in court. You are not legally obligated to take the PBT, but refusal might lead to other consequences, such as license suspension.

Miranda Rights

Miranda rights, including the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney, only apply once you are in custody and subject to interrogation. It’s crucial to understand when these rights come into play during a DUI arrest and how exercising them can protect your legal interests. Also, knowing when and how to exercise your right to an attorney can significantly impact the outcome of your case. Consulting with a Tacoma DUI attorney early in the process is often advisable.

Implied Consent and Chemical Tests

Most jurisdictions have implied consent laws, meaning that by obtaining a driver’s license, you implicitly agree to submit to chemical tests if arrested for DUI. Refusing a chemical test may result in penalties, such as automatic license suspension. Knowing your rights and the potential consequences can guide your decision-making in this critical moment.

Arrest and Custody

If you are arrested for DUI, law enforcement will take you into custody. Understanding what happens during and after the arrest is crucial, including your rights at this stage and the steps that follow.

Booking and Release Process

Following your arrest, you will go through the booking process. This involves recording personal information, taking fingerprints, and potentially being held in a detention facility. Knowing your rights during booking and what information law enforcement can collect is essential for protecting your privacy and legal interests.

After a DUI arrest, you may be presented with different release options, such as bail or citation release. Understanding the implications of each choice on your case and the potential consequences can help you make an informed decision.

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