Your Rights During a Montgomery County DUI Stop

If you are pulled to the side of the road for a traffic stop and are suspected of driving while under the influence, you still have constitutional rights that law enforcement may not violate. The following is information on these rights, and how it can impact your case. To learn more call and schedule a consultation with a Montgomery County DUI lawyer today.

Vehicle Searches in Montgomery County

If you are arrested for driving under the influence, the officer at that point has the right to search your vehicle incident to the arrest. However, before an arrest takes place an attorney must have either probable cause or your consent in order to justify a search.

What Gives Them Probable Cause?

One thing that could give them a reason to search your vehicle is if they have any kind of suspicion for their own safety. For example, if there’s a gun in a car or the police officer can tell there’s some kind of weapon in the car, then they would have a right to search the vehicle. Additionally, a Montgomery County police officer could also develop probable cause to search the vehicle if they see drugs in plain sight and then once they’ve made an arrest then they have a right to search the vehicle incident to the arrest.

The post-arrest search does not need to be consented to. They have the right to search the vehicle incident to the arrest whether you give them consent or not. Many times an officer will ask to search your vehicle and that does not need to be consented to. When the officer is asking, you have the right to say no, but once the officer has put you into custody, at that point they do have the right to search the vehicle incident to the arrest.

Miranda Rights During a DUI Stop

Generally speaking, Miranda doesn’t play a large role in Montgomery County DUI cases. The reason why is that Miranda only applies to something called a custodial interrogation. There are two parts to that: being in custody and being interrogated.

Most of the questions in the DUI case happen prior to the individual being officially in custody and prior to an arrest taking place. For this reason, when an officer walks up to the vehicle and starts talking to you, at that point Miranda still doesn’t apply because you’re not in custody, thus custodial interrogation doesn’t apply.

The other part is an interrogation. Most of the questions that an officer is going to ask you post arrest will come down to will you blow into the breathalyzer machine. Breathalyzer tests are not an interrogation per Miranda and there’s a Supreme Court case that says exactly that. So it’s a very rare for Miranda to be an issue in a DUI stop in Montgomery County.

Rights Immediately After an Arrest in Montgomery County

You have the right to a Montgomery County DUI attorney, which can be invaluable in helping you become aware of all your other legal rights. An attorney can explain what you need to do to retain your driving privilege and explain what you need to do to demand certain witnesses appear in court and those kinds of things.

You also have the right to demand discovery from the prosecutors office so you have the right to see all the evidence that the state is going to introduce against you and your attorney can help you facilitate that. Montgomery County prosecutors can make a written demand for all of that and then you can go over it and see the State’s case before going to trial. Those are a couple of your rights that you still have after being arrested for suspicion of DUI.

Biggest Mistakes to Avoid During DUI Stop

Overall, there are two big mistakes that people should be cognizant of and avoid. The first is admissions. Anything that you admit to the officer can came in as a statement against you in court, even if you choose not to take the stand. If you’ve been pulled over and tell the officer that you had six or seven drinks before driving, that statement will be used against you. In Montgomery County, police officers do not have to Mirandize you prior to putting you into custody. Therefore, if you make a voluntary statement before the arrest, those statements can and will be used against you. The second big mistake people make during DUI stops is consenting to field sobriety tests. Field sobriety tests are a voluntary test. There is no requirement that you complete them and there’s no legal penalty for refusing to do them. The purpose of the test is to gather evidence to prove the officer’s case that you’re driving impaired. It is rarely in your interest to give the officer additional evidence in a DUI stop that may ultimately incriminate you.