Posted by DUI Lawyer Nick Alcock:
If you rights were violated, it may be possible to win your DUI case in Arizona. If a driver is arrested for DUI in Arizona, that DUI case can be dismissed if their Constitutional rights were violated during the traffic stop or investigation. But how can your rights be violated? Does this mean that you have to be physically assaulted in order to have you case dismissed? The answer is no.
For example, a police officer can’t pull you over because they feel like it. A cop can’t stop a driver because it is late at night or they don’t like the way you look. A police officer can’t then arrest you without evidence that you committed a crime. They can’t just haul people down to the station and pull blood without a valid legal basis.
As DUI attorneys, we always look for these violations so we can win cases. You would be surprised how many times we can get a police officer to tell us information that we can later use in a motion to dismiss a case. We know what to look for and what it takes to get a judge to throw a DUI case out.
Furthermore, once stopped by the police or arrested, they can’t force you to answer their questions. They can’t threaten you or put physical pressure on you to cooperate with them. If you decide to tell the police that you don’t want to answer their questions, this can’t be used against you later. Everybody knows that police read suspects their rights. “You have the right to remain silent” is something that people hear in movies and on TV shows. But this right isn’t a fantasy. It is real. You have the right to keep your mouth shut and a right to speak with a DUI attorney.
If you get pulled over for a DUI, it is your right to remain silent. You don’t have to answer any questions about how much you had to drink. You don’t have to tell an officer if you feel impaired by alcohol. In fact, you don’t have to give any information that you feel might be used against you.
Many people worry that keeping quiet is an indication that they are guilty of something. Many are concerned that invoking their rights can be used against them. In fact, the police will not be able use your rights against you. It is not evidence that you are guilty. It is merely evidence that you know your rights.
The bottom line is this. When a police officer pulls you over during a DUI investigation, everything that you say and do will be written down and then used against you in court. If you tell a police officer that you had “a couple of drinks,” that statement will make its way into a police report which will be given to a prosecutor. If you case goes to trial, the police officer will be given the ability to take the witness stand and tell a jury that you admitted to having, “a couple of drinks” prior to driving.
Here’s the real problem, police stops aren’t typically videotaped in Arizona. Therefore, everything that you say or do is subject to the police officer’s subjective perception. That is a fancy way of saying that the cops write down what they want to about your statements and actions. It is safe to say that sometimes what they write down is not 100% accurate. What if an officer writes that you admitted to drinking 5 drinks but you actually said “a few.” Even the best DUI attorneys in the world will have a difficult time proving that the officer is not telling the truth.
As a result, the best bet is to exercise your right to remain silent and ask to speak with a DUI lawyer. When the cop comes up to you door, you can immediately, yet respectfully, explain that you are refusing to answer any questions. You need to identify yourself and provide insurance and registration. But, if the officer insists that you provide information about the situation, it is usually best to respectfully and firmly state your desire to remain silent.
All too often, a suspect at a potential crime scene is his own worst enemy. When officers ask information, other than biographical information (name, date of birth, etc…), they are looking for evidence of a crime. Admitting to drinking “two drinks” when really you had ten does not do you any good. Why? First, most people aren’t the greatest liars in the world and most officers are good reading a bad poker face. More importantly, admitting to “two drinks” actually can give the officer a reason to arrest you.
DUI law in Arizona makes it illegal to drive a vehicle while impaired to the slightest degree by alcohol. An admission to drinking any alcohol may give the officer the legal basis to arrest you, even if two drinks isn’t enough to get you over the legal limit. If you did admit to drinking alcohol, this does not mean that your case can’t be won by a good DUI attorney, but, it is evidence that can strengthen the case against you.
You have the right to a DUI attorney during a DUI investigation. Exercise this right. Whether an officer tells you that you have this right or not, if you believe that you are being investigated for a crime, you should immediately tell the officer that you want to speak with a DUI attorney.
Here’s why asking for a DUI lawyer is such a good idea. First, it prevents the police officer from asking any questions. Second, the officer can’t ask you to complete field sobriety tests. Third, the police officer actually has to give you an opportunity to call a DUI attorney.
An officer may not interfere with your ability to call an attorney and have a private consultation regarding your rights. As long as talking with a lawyer on the phone doesn’t interfere with their investigation, they have to give you a phone, a phone book and a confidential place to make a call. You have the right to receive a telephone call from an attorney even if you are being detained in a police station. For the most part, officers know and respect the notion that all individuals have the right to remain silent and consult with an attorney.
Therefore, the majority of police officers will immediately cease all questioning as soon as an attorney is requested. If you happen to come across an officer who appears to be ignoring these important rights, simply restate your desire to have an attorney present until that officer understands that his attempts to solicit incriminating information are useless. Contact a defense attorney at Alcock & Associates, P.C., today for excellent and affordable representation in your DUI case.
Just as you have the right to refuse to answer questions, you have the right to refuse to submit to incriminating sobriety tests. I believe that there is no reason why any motorist, regardless of his state of sobriety, should submit to any of these tests. Examples of these tests are the hand-held portable breath test, the eye test, the walk-and-turn test, or any other test where an officer is trying to determine the level of your sobriety.
Why do I give this advice? Because I get to see the arrest logs from officers. These logs show all the DUI arrests that a given cop has completed. Sure, the majority of the people stopped have blood alcohol levels that are over the legal limit. But I have yet to see a log that does not include many false positives.
A false positive is where a police officer asks a motorist to field sobriety tests. Based on what the officer sees, he concludes that the motorist is impaired. That person is handcuffed, arrested, and taken down to the police station. At the station, a blood or breath sample is taken and the result is less than the legal limit.
The police are far from perfect. When you submit to field sobriety tests, you are placing your life in the hands of an officer who will view your performance through their own eyes. The testing usually isn’t videotaped. What the officer writes down in their report is up to them. You won’t have a DUI attorney at your side to protect you. But you should ask to speak with a DUI lawyer to prevent the officers from conducting field sobriety testing.
WARNING: Arizona’s Implied Consent Law requires submission to an officer’s request for a blood, breath or urine test in exchange for the privilege to drive in this state. While an individual has the power to refuse, he does not have the right to refuse. This means that a motorist’s refusal to submit to a blood, breath, or urine test will result in a license suspension. What’s worse is that the officer has the ability to obtain a search warrant to obtain a blood, breath or urine sample regardless of your consent.
Most of the time it is relatively easy for a police officer to get a warrant to pull your blood. By the way, if you physically resist submitting to the needle, they can legally hold you down and extract your blood.
You have the right to speak with DUI attorneys before submitting to a blood or breath test. But you also have the right to ask for an independent sample of your blood. During the DUI investigation, the police are likely to obtain a sample of the driver’s blood, breath, or urine. If the officer obtains a sample of blood or urine, that person has the statutory right to obtain an independent scientific test.
More importantly, the police can not unreasonably interfere with an accused’s right to obtain this independent sample. Therefore, after asserting your right to remain silent, your right to an attorney, and your right to refuse sobriety tests, politely indicate that you wish to obtain an independent sample of your blood or urine. If you are arrested and booked into jail, you still have the right to have the police transport you to a hospital to obtain an independent sample of your blood.
WARNING: Arizona law has provided that a DUI suspect does not have the right to have the police preserve a breath sample for independent testing. Therefore, if the officer performed a breath test, indicate that you wish to obtain an independent sample of your blood.
Obviously, this web page does not cover all of your Constitutional rights. Please call our DUI attorneys for a free consultation about your case. We offer helpful information and will keep all of your information confidential. DUI lawyers are standing by to help you right over the phone. Call today: 602-989-5000