Any kind of traffic violation, even if committed unknowingly, can give a police officer reason to pull you over. If a police officer suspects that you have been drinking and driving, any evidence you give can be used against you in court, even if you didn't break any laws.
South Carolina DUI defense attorney Matt Bodman has seen how errors made by police can lead to arrests and possible convictions. If you were arrested and charged with DUI, it's important that you know your rights and get legal representation as soon as possible.
What kind of evidence do police officers look for during traffic stops?
Police officers are trained to observe your behavior when making a traffic stop. If you seem nervous or argumentative, this can lead to further suspicion.
Upon stopping you, an officer will ask for your driver's license and vehicle registration. You are required to provide these and give your full name. During this time an officer may ask you what you're up to, where you're coming from, or where you're headed. You also may be asked if you had anything to drink.
It's important that you refrain from answering these questions and invoke your right to remain silent. Even if you offer an innocent answer, this can raise suspicions and even be used against you if you're arrested. For example, you may have had a drink or two and have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.02 percent. This is perfectly legal. Driving with a BAC of 0.08 percent or greater is not. Telling an officer that you only had one drink can hurt your chance of fighting a DUI charge if you're arrested.
A police officer may ask you to step out of your car. While you are required to get out of your car, you do not have to consent to a vehicle search if the officer doesn't have a warrant. The only other way an officer can search your car is if you are visibly in possession of something illegal.
How can a roadside test be used against me?
After being asked to step out of your car, you may be asked to perform a field sobriety test and/or breath test. These tests usually involve balancing on one foot for a certain amount of time, following a small object visually, or walking heel-to-toe and turning. You are not legally under any obligation to take a field sobriety test. These tests are often administered to observe your behavior and physical coordination.
If you are asked to take a breath test, you must take it. Refusing to do so can result in a 180-day license suspension, under South Carolina's implied consent law. It's better to take the breath test and fight the results in court. Breathalyzers have been shown to yield inaccurate results in many cases, resulting in charges being thrown out in court.
What if I'm arrested for a DUI?
If you're placed under arrest, do not try to argue your way out of it. This can make matters worse and potentially lead to additional charges. Remember that the police officer is not the judge or jury. The charges brought against you can be fought with the help of an experienced DUI defense attorney.
If you're arrested and booked, you may be required to take a urine or blood test. Like breath tests, these chemical tests don't always produce accurate results. This can be due to improper storage of samples, or needles contaminated with cleaning solutions or pathogens.
As a former assistant district attorney in Richland County, attorney Matt Bodman knows how the legal system works. He knows how to investigate DUI cases, examine arrest reports, and gather critical evidence to help fight DUI charges. To find out how he can help you, contact Matt Bodman, P.A. online and schedule your free consultation.