Your DUI FAQs Answered
Getting pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence is extremely common. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates some 1.5 million people are charged every year for DUI. If you’re unfortunate enough to be one of them, you’re bound to have questions. Get answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about DUI charges and learn what loopholes you and your attorney may be able to use in your defense.
What is DUI?
In the most simple terms, a DUI is a charge received for operating a motor vehicle while compromised by a mind-altering substance. Though usually associated with alcohol, a DUI charge can stem from using:
- Prescription drugs
- Illegal drugs
- Over-the-counter medications
How Do Police Determine You Are DUI?
Police can’t simply cherry pick who they believe is driving under the influence of a substance. Instead, they are trained to use a few tools. Those can include a field sobriety test, which may involve performing a common physical movement; observations, which include looking for bloodshot eyes or smelling for alcohol; and chemical testing, such as a breath analysis. While you can’t stop an officer from making observations or asking you to perform an action, you do have the option to refuse to take a breath or other chemical analysis test – so exercise that right.
Can I Talk to An Attorney While I’m Pulled Over?
It’s logical to want legal advice before answering too many questions at a DUI traffic stop. In some states, you have the right to call your lawyer before agreeing to any testing. The time varies, but most of these states allow about 30 minutes. If you live in a state that allows it, call a DUI lawyer and seek advice before making any decisions.
Do I Have to Answer the Officer’s Questions?
At a DUI traffic stop, it’s normal for police to have many questions. But be aware that you don’t have to answer them. You’re legally obligated to provide identification, registration and proof of insurance if asked. What you don’t have to do is answer questions about whether you’ve been drinking. Remember, the police are not there to make friendly conversation. They’re looking to find evidence to justify a DUI arrest. Make sure you don’t help them build their case by talking too much.
Getting a DUI charge can be frightening. Educate yourself on what to expect and get a drunk driving attorney in Bloomington, IL immediately. It can make the difference between a minor incident and a major life hurdle.
Thanks to Pioletti, Pioletti & Nichols for their insight into criminal law and the answers to common DUI questions.