One of the first things our DUI clients tell us is that they don’t think they’re guilty because the police violated their rights. Some complain that the police didn’t have the right to pull them over on suspicion of drunk driving. Others tell us that the police didn’t have the right to make them perform the field sobriety test.
Unfortunately, it seems that a lot of our clients either watch too much television or consider themselves armchair attorneys. The best DUI attorney in Spartanburg can review your case to see if the police did in fact violate your rights.
Like anyone else who is charged with a crime, you have certain inalienable rights afforded to you by the Constitution. No matter how drunk the officers think you are, they must still honor your rights and protections. If you feel that your rights were violated during the course of your arrest on drunk driving charges then you should call one of the best DUI attorneys in Spartanburg right away.
Here, we’ll discuss what these rights are and how far they extend. We will also explain what your criminal defense lawyer in Spartanburg can do to prove that your rights were violated. If you were recently charged with drunk driving in South Carolina, it’s in your best interest to contact one of the best DUI attorneys in Spartanburg immediately. If you can’t reach out to us directly, have one of your friends or family members do so on your behalf.
Your First Right When Detained on Drunk Driving Charges is to Remain Silent
One of the most important rights you have when it comes to dealing with the police and your arrest on drunk driving charges is the right to remain silent. Aside from providing the officer with a copy of your driver’s license, registration, and insurance card, you’re not required to answer any of their questions. Of course, if you refuse to answer their questions or even speak with them, it’s not going to go a long way toward earning yourself the benefit of the doubt. If you give the police a hard time, they will give you a hard time right back.
Some people think it doesn’t matter what they say or how they say it-if the police want to arrest them for drunk driving, they’re going to arrest them for drunk driving. While this may be true for a lot of officers, there are times when a driver is just over the legal limit and the officer has the choice of using their discretion.
For example, if you perform the field sobriety test perfectly, they may be willing to let you have a friend come pick you up and leave your car. Or they may write you a ticket for reckless driving and tell you to find another way home. If you refuse to answer any other questions or are disrespectful in any way, they will have no problem slapping the handcuffs on you and hauling you off to the local jail on charges of drunk driving.
You’re Also Protected from an Unreasonable Search and Seizure
One of the other important rights you have under the Constitution is the right against an unreasonable search and seizure. All this means is that the police are required to have reasonable suspicion before they pull you over for drunk driving. While this sounds like an important right, it doesn’t take all that much for the police officers to establish reasonable suspicion.
If the cops notice any of the following, they will have established reasonable suspicion:
- your car is weaving in and out of traffic lanes
- you’re driving extraordinarily slow given the speed limit
- it’s freezing outside but all your windows are wide open
- you have just pulled out of a popular bar or nightclub at closing time
- you stop for too long at a stoplight
- they see you holding a beer bottle or other container
- they see heavy clouds of smoke coming out of your windows
Of course, there is a litany of things the officers may notice that give them the right to pull you over for drunk driving. This is just a sampling of some of the more common reasons a police officer would suspect that you’re driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Your Lawyer Can Argue the Police Didn’t Have Reasonable Suspicion to Pull You Over
One of the more common arguments our criminal defense lawyers in Spartanburg make is that the police did not have reasonable suspicion to pull their client over for drunk driving. One way to do this is to request a copy of the officer’s dash cam. Your lawyer will want to see what happened in the minutes leading up to your traffic stop.
Another way of proving this is by getting a copy of the officer’s own body camera to show how they treated you when they walked up to your window. For example, if there’s audio on their camera, your attorney can listen to see what kind of questions they asked. Or if the dash cam shows that you were driving perfectly normal, then your criminal defense lawyer in Spartanburg can ask to have the drunk driving charges dismissed.
You Have the Right to a Clear Explanation of the Breathalyzer Test and Field Sobriety Test
One other right that is worth mentioning is that you have a right to have the breathalyzer and filter out the tests clearly explained to you. The officer must clearly explain the purpose of the test as well as the instructions. If your attorney can prove that they did not explain the tests clearly, it may be enough to pick a hole in the state’s drunk driving case.
Of course, even the best DUI is turning Spartanburg can’t just take your word for it. Since traffic stops are recorded, your attorney will have the chance of reviewing the video to see what actually happened. If it’s clear that the officers did not explain how you were supposed to perform the tests, your lawyer will ask to have the results of the tests thrown out and to have the drunk driving charges against you dismissed.
You Have the Right to Hire the Best DUI Attorney in Spartanburg
If you have recently been arrested and charged with drunk driving in South Carolina, it’s a good idea to contact our office immediately. Even if it’s only your first offense, you’ll be facing possible jail time, hefty fines, and suspension of your driver’s license. There’s no reason to handle this on your own if you don’t have to. You can contact us by phone or go to our website and reach out to us directly. Take a few minutes to speak with a criminal defense lawyer in Spartanburg as soon as possible.