Rights During a Virginia DUI Stop 

Getting arrested following a Virginia DUI stop can be a very intimidating experience. When dealing with law enforcement, it is easy to feel like you do not have rights. Challenging the authority of a police officer may seem daunting, however, as a civilian, you do have rights during a Virginia DUI stop. If you feel that your rights have been disrespected during a stop, do not hesitate to contact an attorney. A tenacious DUI lawyer can advocate for you and help protect your rights.

Constitutional Rights

All of a person’s constitutional rights are in full effect during a DUI stop. That includes the right to remain silent, it includes the right to not incriminate themselves, and the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. If the police arrest the person or if they are searching the person, even if the person thinks that is illegal, the side of the road is not the place to challenge the police officer’s authority.

It is important that an individual, for their own safety, not resist the police. That having been said, it is perfectly reasonable and legitimate to not answer their questions, and not take their tests.

A person’s rights during a Virginia DUI stop are going to include the right to remain silent and the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. The rights after the stop are going to include their Sixth Amendment right to have the assistance of counsel at every phase of their prosecution.

Consent

An individual does not need to consent to a search of their vehicle after being arrested and in the most cases, their consent will not be sought. The reason for that is that, once a person is placed under arrest, that the police have the right for a couple of different reasons to search the vehicle.

Implied Consent

The implied consent laws in Virginia say that if a person is operating a motor vehicle on the highways of the Commonwealth and it is determined by an officer that there is probable cause to arrest them, then they have impliedly consented to give a sample of their breath or their blood to determine whether they are intoxicated. If a person fails to give that consent after being arrested and that consent is unreasonable, then a person may also be charged with the civil offense of refusal, which can result in a 12-month loss of license.

In order for the government to use a certificate of analysis that shows the blood alcohol of a defendant, they must have complied with the Virginia implied consent law. There has to be a probable cause for the officer to believe that the person is under the influence. If that does not exist or there are other conditions where the implied consent law does not apply, then the government will not be able to use the certificate of analysis showing the blood alcohol at a trial.

Miranda Rights and the Legality of DUI Stops

Whether or not a DUI stop is legal or not, it is not going to be affected by whether a person was read their Miranda rights. The precedent set by the Miranda case makes it so that if the government wants to use statements made by someone accused of a DUI while they were under arrest and being asked questions, that a Miranda warning must first be given.

In a DUI case, most of the evidence is going to be collected before an arrest ever happens. The field sobriety test, the interview at the side of the road, these are things that all happen pre-arrest. There is no desire on the part of the police in most cases to use a statement that was made by the defendant once they have been placed under arrest. That is why Miranda and DUI cases fairly rare.

Mistakes to Avoid

The primary mistake people make in DUI is cooperating with the police, answering their questions, and performing their tests. Everyone has the right to remain silent and everyone has the right to not incriminate themselves, even though the police may tell the person that it will go easier for the person if they cooperate. It is important for individuals to politely but firmly invoke their rights during a Virginia DUI stop

Anything that a person says to them and any tests that they perform are expressly for the purposes of them building their case against the person and they are only going to help them convict the person later. It is important beyond providing a valid ID if the person is the driver of the vehicle to not cooperate with the police or take any of the field sobriety tests.

Importance of a Lawyer

One of the rights during a Virginia DUI stop that a person does not have, is the right to an attorney. Once the person has been released from police custody, then the person can reach out to an attorney anytime they want. But while the stop and while the arrest is going on, there is no right to communicate with counsel or have counsel be present.

After being released, it is imperative that a person gets in touch with a DUI lawyer. A lawyer will not only be able to help you mitigate your DUI charges, they can also use any violation of your rights that might have been committed during the stop, to add to your defense.