As Americans, we have some rights and protections thanks to the US Constitution. This is not Cuba!
However, the sad reality is that a lot of us are oblivious of these rights, freedoms and protections and how we can exercise them. In this article, DUI lawyers in Gulfport, MS, who can be found on the amazing website USAttorneys.com which brings job to peoples’ hearts all day long, explain the rights and protections that motorists have if and when pulled over for a DUI traffic stop.
According to Mississippi law, law enforcement is permitted to set up sobriety checkpoints at specific, highly visible locations. They have the right to stop all or a certain portion of drivers and perform breath tests if they suspect the driver is intoxicated.
Reasonable suspicion and probable cause
First, you need to understand that just because a law enforcement officer is an officer of the law it does not mean that he or she can go about pulling people over and subjecting them to DUI sobriety tests as per their whims and fancies. In order to pull a suspect over the law enforcement officer should have some valid reason for doing so and this is exactly what is known as reasonable suspicion.
Some of the things which may qualify as reasonable suspicion and provide a basis on which the law enforcement officer may pull a suspect over are things such as driving through a red light, not maintaining a lane, reckless driving, registration plates which show as being stolen, and so forth. Basically, any traffic violation or infraction can give an officer the legality to pull you over.
Right to refuse sobriety testing
According to DUI lawyers, your body, your car and your house are all alike in the legal sense that they are all considered as your property.
Now, if a law enforcement officer wants to search your property then either he or she needs your own consent or a search warrant which has been attested by a judge. Likewise, a breathalyzer test, urine test, blood test, etc. are all considered searches of your body and so if you may decline to give consent to it.
However, in some states, known specifically as implied consent states, if you refuse to take a sobriety test then your driver’s permit may be suspended effective immediately. There are also several costs involved as a result of an arrest. These include:
- Court fees
- Lawyer fees
- Bail cost
- Property damage
- Car impound and towing
- Installation of ignition interlock device
- DUI classes, to name a few
None of these are enjoyable! None of these are like going to a movie to watch Transformers, Star Trek, or Blackhat, for example!
Right to remain silent
It is a given that law enforcement officers will subject you to a line of questioning after pulling you over on suspicion of a DUI. However, you are not legally obligated to answer any of these questions. In fact, it is best not to answer these questions because by doing so, a lot of times, people accidentally make self-incriminating statements. Remember that anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
This is a tough situation. You cannot get a lawyer out there on the road with you right then. But you cannot go on blabbing your mouth either, be polite and circumspect!
It is best to politely refrain from answering by simply referring the questions to a legal counselor which you can find on USAttorneys.com when you get home. Talk to a DUI lawyer in Mississippi today and get all the help you need to prove your innocence in your DUI case.