If you find yourself arrested and charged with a DUI or a related offense, the first step towards protecting yourself is to get in touch with a Fresno DUI attorney from Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer. Attorney Mike McKneely will thoroughly assess your case and identify the strongest possible defenses.
Unexpected Encounters with the Police
When you’re behind the wheel, it’s impossible to predict when you might be pulled over by a police officer. One moment, you’re driving, taking your safety and freedom for granted, and the next, you see flashing lights in your rearview mirror. At Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer, our team of experienced Fresno DUI attorneys will fight for your charges to be dismissed or reduced. If the prosecution proceeds with DUI charges, Mike will construct the most robust defense available under the law. His objective is to achieve your exoneration in court, but he will also prepare to minimize the potential consequences of any conviction.
Knowing Your Rights During a DUI Traffic Stop
If you are pulled over and an officer suspects that you’ve been drinking and driving, it’s crucial to remain calm and assert your rights. During a traffic stop, you have the following rights:
Remain silent: You are obligated to provide the police with your name and identification. However, beyond that, you are not obligated to answer any further questions or make statements. Politely state that you are invoking your right to remain silent.
Ask if you are under arrest: While being pulled over, you have the right to ask the police if you are under arrest or being detained. If they confirm that you are not, you are free to leave. If the traffic stop continues for an unreasonable amount of time without your release or arrest, it is advisable to contact a Fresno DUI attorney promptly.
Request a lawyer: If you are placed under arrest, it is essential to be polite but firm in expressing your desire for a DUI attorney. Refrain from answering any questions from the officer until you have a DUI lawyer present to represent your case.
Your Rights Regarding Field Sobriety Tests
During a DUI traffic stop, a police officer may request that you perform specific tests. Typically, you will be asked to take one of the field sobriety tests (FSTs) standardized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
- The horizontal gaze nystagmus test
- The walk-and-turn test
- The one-leg stand test
You have the option to refuse any or all of these FSTs. There is no legal obligation to undergo these tests, and you cannot be penalized for declining. However, keep in mind that refusing these tests may not prevent an arrest, but it can limit the prosecutor’s evidence against you.
Your Rights Regarding Chemical Tests
When the police suspect that you are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you may be arrested and asked to take a blood, breath, or urine test to determine your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). If you are a driver above the age of 21, the legal BAC limit is .08 percent. For individuals under 21 years old, any amount of alcohol in their blood can result in criminal charges. Commercial drivers with a commercial driver’s license have a BAC limit of .04 percent while driving a commercial vehicle at the time of the stop.
While you have the right to refuse a warrantless chemical test, there are consequences for doing so. Refusal can lead to an administrative driver’s license suspension and increased penalties if you are found guilty of DUI.
In many cases, the police will obtain a warrant for a blood sample. Refusing to submit to a blood test after a warrant has been issued can have serious ramifications. Therefore, it is crucial to consult with a Fresno DUI attorney as soon as possible when facing this situation.