Many people are confused about what they should do in the event they are pulled over by police on suspicion of DUI. This is understandable as the laws in this area are not explained during a DUI stop, and being pulled over by police is a stressful experience no matter the circumstances.
The Typical DUI Stop
An officer’s goal is to try to find enough evidence to arrest you for DUI. To arrest you, an officer will need probable cause. Probable cause must be based on specific facts.
First, a police officer needs some reason to pull you over. It could be that your tags are out of date. It could be that you ran a stop sign or were driving erratically. If your driving is what caught the attention of an officer, he or she can use your driving as a specific fact in finding probable cause for your DUI arrest.
An officer cannot arrest you for DUI simply because you broke a traffic law late at night; he or she will need additional facts. As an officer makes his initial contact with you in the car, he will be looking for evidence of drug or alcohol consumption in the car such as beer cans, medicine bottles, or the smell of drugs or alcohol.
Next, the officer will try to determine if you have been drinking based on your appearance and mannerisms. An officer will look for things like slurring, red eyes, and the smell of alcohol on your breath.
After all these checks, an officer will likely attempt to test your level of sobriety through various tests. This is all in an attempt to gather enough facts to support your arrest.
Types of DUI Sobriety Tests
The first group of tests an officer may ask you to complete are field sobriety tests. These include walking a straight line, standing on one leg, and following a moving pen or finger with your eyes. You can refuse to participate in these tests without consequence.
The second test you may be asked to participate in is a PBT or Portable Breath Test. The officer will ask you to breathe into a device that measures your blood alcohol content. You can refuse to participate in this test without consequence at this point as well.
The Test For Which You Can Be Penalized
There is one test that you can be penalized for if you do not agree to participate. This is a second round of blood alcohol testing, either by a breathalyzer or blood test, and it is only given after you are arrested for DUI and are at the police station. There are different penalties if you take the test and fail or refuse altogether. The penalties also depend on whether you have refused to submit to a test before:
- If it is your first refusal, you driver’s license will be suspended for 12 months;
- If this is your second refusal, your license will be suspended for three years; or
- If you took the test and your BAC was .08 or more, your license could be suspended for six months for a first offense, one year for a second.
While there is no hard and fast rule for you to follow regarding a BAC test after your arrest, test results are likely to be used as evidence against you during prosecution. Therefore, many defense attorneys believe that accused persons should never give any evidence to the police as it will only make your trial more difficult.
Contact a Wheaton, IL DUI Attorney
Being charged with a DUI is a serious situation. There is a lot on the line, and a skilled criminal law attorney will be able to protect your interests and guide your case. Depending on the facts of your case, there may be ways to keep your license from being suspended. Contact an experienced DuPage County DUI defense attorney to discuss your case today. Call 630-933-8400 for a free consultation.