If a police officer pulls you over under suspicion that you are driving under the influence of alcohol, it might seem like you have limited options. You may feel that you will go to trial and suffer the penalties of a DUI conviction with little way to defend yourself.
In actuality, though, you do have certain rights that will protect you when stopped by the police. Perhaps the most important of these is the right to remain silent, so it is important to know why you should exercise this right to the fullest extent during a DUI stop.
Avoid accidental consent or admission
It is perfectly likely that you might feel flustered, panicked or even just caught off-guard if the police suddenly pull you over for a DUI stop. In this state of mind, you might consent to a search of your vehicle or even slip up and admit that you were drinking without considering the consequences. Remaining silent and only providing the required information, such as your name, ensures that you do not incriminate yourself.
Defend yourself against wrongful search and seizure
If the police search your vehicle and discover the presence of alcohol during a DUI stop, it can serve as very strong evidence against you in court. If the discovery is the result of a wrongful search and seizure, however, that evidence is invalid. Remaining silent during the traffic stop gives you a strong claim that you did not consent to the search and gives you the best chance at proving that the evidence against you is not valid.
Receiving a DUI conviction can result in fines, license suspension or even jail time. It is important to do everything you can to defend yourself against such harsh penalties, and that starts with exercising your basic rights.