Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is never a good thing. However, it does happen. As a matter of fact, more than 1 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in 2016 alone. Even though this charge has affected so many, most people do not fully understand the severity or how to handle a DUI charge. If you or a loved one were recently charged with driving under the influence, knowing the truth behind these common myths is smart.
Myth: You Have to Answer Questions
If you are pulled over while driving because a police officer believes you are under the influence, you will be asked numerous questions. While surprising to learn, you are under no obligation to answer SOME of the police officer's questions, but knowing when to answer and when to remain silent is key.
The police officer will most likely want to see your driver's license and registration. They may also ask for your name and address before or after they see your license and registration. You do need to provide this information to the officer, so remain calm and patience during this questioning.
Make sure to tell the officer where the license and registration are located within the vehicle so you can avoid making any surprise movements when supplying your ID and insurance documents.
If the officer continues to question you, you do have the option of remaining silent. You do not have to answer any questions unless they have to do with the reason for the officer pulling you and your vehicle over. For example, if the officer says you have committed a traffic violation, such as speeding of failing to stop at a stop sign or red light, you should give them reasons for why this occurred.
Myth: Sobriety Tests Are Mandatory
If the police officer feels you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they will request that you complete some sort of sobriety test. There are many different tests the officer may choose to help determine if you are under the influence and how severe this influence is.
A simple gaze test is often used by officers without you realizing you are being tested. The officer may use their fingers or a flashlight to gauge the movement of your eyes. If you are impaired, the eye will not be able to follow the movement. The eye may also jerk when trying to follow the movement if you are under the influence.
Another test is a simple walking test. The officer will ask you to get out of the vehicle slowly and walk a straight line. Then, you will need to turn around and possibly even stand on one leg. Many people are able to complete these tests even after drinking alcohol or using some drugs. However, if you are severely impaired, these tests will be virtually impossible.
The most common myth associated with DUI charges is that these tests are mandatory, but you do have the right to refuse any sobriety tests or the use of a breathalyzer test. Unfortunately, refusing these tests will most likely lead to an arrest, so the officer can conduct the tests at the police station.
If you are asked to take any of these tests but want to refuse them, make sure to communicate your decision clearly and politely to avoid any disturbances that lead to further legal complications.
Again, you should avoid driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol at all times. However, if you are pulled over and questioned by an officer, make sure you know your rights. By knowing the truth behind these myths, a DUI stop will be easier to deal with. For more information on your rights at a DUI stop, get in touch with a law firm that offers DUI attorney services.