Almost everyone has been pulled over by a police officer at least once in their lives. Did you know that you have certain rights before and during the stop that may protect you if you get arrested and charged with a crime? Here’s what you need to know.
Fleeing & Eluding
When a police officer flashes their lights at you and attempts to pull you over, you have the right to take your vehicle to a safe location before you stop, especially if you are alone. You also have the right to identify the car as a law enforcement vehicle and the officer as a law enforcement officer. The police may charge you with fleeing & eluding if you continue to drive your car after being signaled to stop; however, you can defend yourself by maintaining that you were seeking a safe, public, and well-lit location so the officer and the police vehicle could be more easily identified.
What to Say When Stopped
After you’ve been stopped, the police officer will usually ask you for your identification and may ask several other questions as well. Apart from providing your identification, you have the right to decline to answer questions that could potentially incriminate you. If, for example, the officer asks if you have been drinking, you may simply say, “I have no comment on that.” You are well within your rights, but remember to remain polite and keep your hands in plain view of the officer at all times.
Your DUI Rights
If the officer who stops you suspects you of driving under the influence, he or she may ask you to perform field sobriety tests. You have the right to decline these without penalty. You also have the right to decline a BAC test, however, this means you will immediately surrender your license. You may decline a breathalyzer on the scene and request to submit a blood test at the hospital or the police department instead, and you also have the right to request that two identical samples of blood be taken — one for law enforcement and the other for you to have tested using an independent lab.
Attorney Jennifer Mouzis is experienced in helping clients assert their rights under the California law and defending them against unjust charges. Contact Attorney Mouzis today to learn more about your rights or to discuss your case in detail by calling (916) 822-8702.