DWI and the Fourth of July
As we celebrate our Independence, we attend parties and picnics which have plenty of food and, of course, plenty of alcohol. Historically the 4th of July is one of the deadliest holidays of the year for DWI crashes. Law enforcement is well aware of this statistic and increases their patrols and intensifies their scrutiny for Intoxicated or Impaired Drivers. We encourage everyone to drink responsibly or employ the use of a designated driver, taxi, or shared riding service. However, if you are pulled by the police during this holiday there are some things to remember:
1) BE COURTEOUS AND COOPERATIVE TO THE POLICE OFFICER
Follow the officer’s instructions as it relates to pedigree information and simple instructions to get out of the car.
2) YOU HAVE RIGHTS
Being cooperative does not mean you are regarding to do everything that they ask. You may decline to answer questions or perform tests but do so in a respectful manner.
3) YOU ARE NOT REQUIRED OR OBLIGATED TO TAKE ANY FIELD SOBRIETY TEST
A police officer must have probable cause to ask you to exit the vehicle and ask you to perform what is called Standard Field Sobriety Tests. These tests are divided attention tests that are designed to test your cognitive ability to follow directions and your motor coordination to see if you can actually perform the test. Some of these tests include the Walk and Turn, Alphabet, Finger Count, One Leg Stand. These tests are generally designed for people to fail. They fail to take into account an individual’s natural motor coordination or lack thereof, weight, prior injuries, etc. They also fail to take into account weather factors, the place of the test, lighting, etc. By refusing to take these tests you are not being uncooperative but merely asserting your rights.
4) YOU ARE NOT REQUIRED TO TAKE ANY BLOOD OR BREATH TEST
If you are arrested and taken to a police station you will be asked to submit to a chemical test by either Breath or Blood. There is no requirement under the law that you submit to any test. However, if you do refuse your license may be revoked by the Department of Motor Vehicles for a period of time. Again, by refusing you are not being uncooperative but just asserting your rights.
5) MOST IMPORTANTLY YOU HAVE AN IMMEDIATE RIGHT TO COUNSEL AT THE STOP
If you are pulled over you may assert your right to counsel at any point in time. Advise the police officer that you would like to speak to counsel prior to doing anything. If it is at the police station after arrest you may ask the police officer to allow you to speak with an attorney prior to taking or refusing any chemical test.
We hope you enjoy your holiday weekend. Be safe. Be Careful. Be responsible but if you need us please call LoTempio PC Law Group immediately.