Your Constitutional Rights

If you are suspected of DUI in Arizona, or any other crime for that matter, you should have a basic understanding your constitutional rights.  Some of your most important rights in an Arizona DUI investigation are:

The right to be free from unreasonable searched and seizures:  If the police stop your car, you have been seized for purposes of the Fourth Amendment.  If they take a sample of your blood or breath, it is considered a search for purposes the Fourth Amendment.  The Fourth Amendment protects you from unreasonable searches and seizures.  If challenged, the State must prove that the police had reasonable suspicion to justify any seizure and probable cause to justify any search.

The right to remain silent:  You always have a right to remain silent and it’s usually a good idea to politely invoke this right when the police ask you questions.  When the police ask you questions, they are usually looking for incriminating evidence.  If you don’t expressly invoke this right, you silence in the face of questioning could be used against you as evidence.  The police are required to tell you about this right (as part of the Miranda warning) only if they are asking you questions after they have arrested you or have placed you in a custodial situation.  You don’t have to wait for your Miranda warnings before you invoke your right to remain silent.

The right to an attorney:  You have the right to the presence of an attorney during questioning.  If you ask for an attorney, the police must stop questioning you until an attorney is present.  It is unlikely that the police will provide you with an attorney, or that you will be able to find an attorney immediately (and even if you do they will likely advise you to invoke your right to remain silent), so invoking your right to an attorney should put an end to all questioning.  Again, you don’t have to wait to be read Miranda warnings before invoking your right to the presence of an attorney.

The right to refuse to take filed sobriety tests:  You are not required to take the field sobriety tests that the police ask you to take.  We very rarely see a police report saying that a suspect actually passed any of these tests.  So no matter how confident you feel, the officer will probably see something he interprets and reports as evidence of impairment.  You should know that if you refuse to take these tests, the refusal can be used as evidence against you.  All that means is that the officer can testify in court that you refused to take the tests.  It’s possible that some jurors might hold this against you, but it is usually less damaging than an officer testifying about the many mistakes you made on these tests.

The right to refuse to take a chemical test:  You also have a right to refuse a breath or blood test.  Nevertheless, it is usually best to take these tests.  A refusal with result in an automatic one-year suspension of your drivers license and the police will almost always be able to get a warrant allowing them to forcibly take your blood anyway.  These days, it just takes a short phone call to a judge on call to obtain a warrant.

If you are facing DUI charges in Arizona, it is critical that you are represented by an experienced DUI attorney who knows this area of the law. At Leonardo Law Offices, we are experienced in handling felony and misdemeanor DUI cases, including extreme and super-extreme DUI charges, and have had good results.  For a free assessment of your case, call our Tucson, Arizona office at (520) 314-4125 or contact us online.