In October of 2017, the Supreme Court of Georgia made a new ruling that addressed and clarified the rights of drivers who are accused of driving under the influence. The ruling confirmed that state law enforcement officials cannot compel drivers to submit to a breathalyzer test. It also changes the rule that previously allowed prosecutors to submit a defendant’s refusal to submit to a breathalyzer test during a traffic stop The court’s decision to unanimously overturn previous rulings that claimed Georgia’s constitution did not allow drivers to refuse a breath test illustrates how large a role self-incrimination plays in driving under the influence (DUI) convictions. Knowing how to avoid incriminating yourself during DUI stops can reduce or avoid some of the long-lasting and far-reaching penalties of a conviction.
Getting stopped by the police is never enjoyable and it is natural for a person who is nervous or frightened to become defensive or overly aggressive. When you are dealing with a traffic stop, it is in your best interest to remain as polite as possible, even if you believe that a DUI charge or arrest is imminent. Giving in to the impulse to argue may quickly escalate the situation and cause you to reveal more information that you initially realize. Remaining polite helps you stay in control of the situation and reduces your chances of giving the police information that they may later use against you.
Silence is the best defense in many situations, including DUI stops. Police usually ask many questions in a short period of time designed to obtain information that may later be used against you if you are charged with a crime. Refusing to answer questions outside of basic identification-related inquiries prevents the police from later using your words as evidence that a crime was committed.
Unfortunately, many people incriminate themselves during DUI stops by voluntarily answering questions related to drinking in an effort to avoid arrest or downplay the implied severity of their actions. Statements regarding how much alcohol you drank, when the alcohol was consumed, and what type of alcohol was consumed should be avoided at all costs. The police may ask you questions such as if you drank wine or beer and how long ago you had the drink. Answering these questions can serve as confirmation that you did in fact drink.
Refusing to take a breath alcohol test and avoiding incriminating yourself verbally are only the first steps in fighting a DUI conviction. Retaining a qualified DUI attorney is the next thing that you should do if you or someone close to you was recently charged with driving under the influence. The attorneys at David Bell Law Firm understand how seriously a DUI conviction can affect a person’s future, so we work hard to defend your good name. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation at our Augusta, Georgia location so that we can begin discussing your unique legal needs.