Your Rights When You are Pulled Over for a DUI
In 2021, statistics from the Michigan Annual Drunk Driving Audit indicate that there were 27,506 total arrests for alcohol-related offenses statewide. In Michigan, it is an offense to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of an alcoholic liquor or controlled substance. If you’re suspected of impaired or drunk driving, a law enforcement officer can ask you to pull over, ask you some questions, and request that you take some DUI tests.
However, many motorist in Michigan do not know their rights and expected obligations when pulled over by the police for alleged drunk driving. As a result, many alleged impaired drivers are usually subject to far-reaching penalties or may end up in the worst-case scenario. For this reason, understanding your legal rights when pulled over for a DUI/OWI is imperative to protect your driving privileges and ensure that you do not complicate your case unknowingly.
At Revolution Law PLC, we’re committed to offering knowledgeable guidance and comprehensive representation to clients in their DUI/OWI cases. Our strategic Michigan criminal defense attorneys can investigate all of the facts of your case, enlighten you about your rights, and help build a solid defense in pursuit of the most favorable outcome. We’re proud to serve clients across Bay County, Michigan, and surrounding areas throughout Bay and Midland counties.
You Have the Right to Not Incriminate Yourself
When a law enforcement officer stops you for alleged drunk driving, you have the right not to incriminate yourself. Ensure that you follow the standard pull-over procedure. Also, provide the police officer with the required documentation, including your driver’s license, vehicle registration, insurance information, and other vital details. In addition, be respectful and cooperative, but avoid answering any question asked by the police about your whereabouts or the number of drinks you took.
Right against Unlawful Search and Seizure
Note that you have the right against unreasonable search and seizure when pulled over by the police for a DUI. Unless you consent to the search or they have probable cause, the police are prohibited from conducting a search and seizure on your or your property/vehicle. Any evidence obtained during an illegal search and seizure will be inadmissible in court.
You Have a Right to Refuse to Take Field Sobriety Tests
Field sobriety tests are broken down in three standardized tests – the One-Leg Stand Test, the Walk-and-Turn Test, and the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test – which are usually done to know whether a driver is impaired or sober.
According to Michigan law, field sobriety tests are NOT mandatory. It is totally legal to refuse the field sobriety test, and there is no license suspension or punishment for refusal. It is important to note that taking chemical tests at the station is mandatory. Refusing a breath or blood test at the station after a lawful arrest may result in license suspension and other administrative penalties.
You Have the Right to Refuse the Preliminary or Portable Breath Test
Under Michigan’s Implied Consent Law, a driver lawfully arrested for drunk driving automatically agrees to consent to a chemical test - blood, breath, or urine test – to determine their blood alcohol content (BAC). However, this should not be confused with a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) or portable breathalyzer test (PBT).
Essentially, the PAS or PBT that is done by the roadside isn’t covered under the state’s implied consent law. A motorist can refuse the PBT or PAS without facing any penalty or legal consequences. In contrast, you must perform the blood or breath tests ordered at the local police department. If you refuse a chemical test, you will face administrative sanctions and other criminal charges.
You Have a Right to Contact an Attorney
Finally, when you’ve been arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI), you have the right to reach out to an attorney. In addition, remain silent and don’t respond to the police officer’s questions or interview without your attorney. A strategic DUI/OWI defense lawyer can assess your case details, strategize an effective defense to fight your charges, and help you navigate the Michigan criminal justice system.
You Have Rights. Use Them.
Knowing your rights and what to do – or avoid doing – when stopped for alleged drunk driving can help make your case feel more manageable. At Revolution Law PLC, our attorneys have devoted their careers to handling criminal cases and protecting individuals charged with DUI/OWI from the worst possible situation. Our skilled lawyers will help assert your rights, dispute the allegations against you with overwhelming evidence, and fight vigorously to uphold your driving privileges.
Contact us at Revolution Law PLC today to schedule a simple case evaluation with dependable DUI/OWI defense attorneys. Our trusted legal team can represent you aggressively at every phase of the legal process and help keep your record as clean as possible. We’re proud to serve clients across Bay County, Michigan, and surrounding areas throughout Bay and Midland counties.