Colonial Heights DUI Traffic Stops

Police officers look for certain clues before initiating Colonial Heights DUI traffic stops. They include swerving in and out of the lane, driving too slowly, remaining at a stop light after it has changed to green, or changing lanes without signaling. The officer will consider those types of behaviors indications of intoxication.

If you face DUI charges, going to court without legal representation could cost you. Reach out to a seasoned DUI attorney who could fight for a positive outcome in your case.

DUI Stop Process in Colonial Heights

Typically, when someone is stopped for a DUI, the first thing the officer will do is notice a person’s demeanor during Colonial Heights DUI traffic stops. Some of the indicators officers will look for include:

  • Glassy eyes
  • Flushed face
  • Drowsiness
  • Smell of alcohol
  • Slurred speech

Any of that will be evidence for them to determine whether there is probable cause for DUI.

Field Sobriety Tests

After looking for indicators of intoxication, law enforcement might ask the driver some questions. These may seem harmless, but they are looking for the way the driver answers them, their ability to answer, and their interaction with the officer. Through that process, the officer will determine whether there is enough reason to justify a field sobriety test. Such tests are voluntary, so they cannot force the person to do them.

There are three field sobriety tests that are approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and most officers are taught the proper way to perform them. They are called the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the nine-step walk-and-turn test, and the one-legged stand test. Each is designed to test whether a person can do more than one thing at once.

Portable Breath Tests

If an officer is going to arrest the person for DUI, by law they have to offer the person the preliminary breath test, a portable breathalyzer carried by the police officers. A reading of .08 or higher is legally considered intoxication. The test is voluntary, but the results cannot be used against someone in a trial for DUI as evidence of their intoxication level. They can only be used in a DUI hearing if the person challenges the probable cause of the DUI arrest.

Totality of the Circumstances

The court follows a totality of the circumstances test, in which they must look at all the circumstances involved in Colonial Heights DUI traffic stops. The court will look at the driving, the field sobriety tests, and the person’s words to determine if there was probable cause for the arrest and whether the person is intoxicated. After they are arrested, they are taken to the police station for a formal arrest and the Intoxilyzer 3000 test, which can be used as evidence at trial.

Implied Consent

In Virginia, there is a thing as implied consent, which means that by operating a motor vehicle in the state, a person automatically agrees that if they are stopped and there is probable cause to arrest them for DUI, that they will submit to the breathalyzer test at the station. If they subsequently choose not to follow the consent that they have already given by operating their motor vehicle in the Commonwealth, at that point the officer can charge them with a refusal. On a first offense, there is not always implied consent. On a second offense, they can charge the person with a criminal refusal.

Refusal generally is a civil penalty, the loss of the person’s driver’s license for one year. They are not eligible for a restricted license if they lose it based on the implied-consent law. If their license is suspended for a first-offense DUI, they are eligible for a restricted license so they can drive to and from work, school, doctor’s appointments, and the like. When implied consent is brought into the game, they no longer have that right.

Miranda Rights

Miranda rights have nothing to do with the legality of  DUI traffic stops in Colonial Heights. Miranda rights only come into play when the Commonwealth wants to use a statement the person may have made, but cannot if the person was not informed of their right to remain silent. At a technical level, a person can be arrested and go through the entire arrest and trial process and not be read those rights, and there is nothing illegal about that.

Talking to a Colonial Heights Attorney About Your DUI Traffic Stop

A person has the right to remain silent during and immediately after a DUI arrest. They also have the right to an attorney, and they should exercise those rights to protect themselves from a DUI conviction. Generally, a person who is quick to ask for a lawyer finds themselves in a lot less criminal trouble and liability than a person who does not.

If you were arrested for a DUI, reach out to a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Local attorneys are familiar with the proper procedures in Colonial Heights DUI traffic stops, and they analyze your case to find misconduct. Contact a DUI attorney today to schedule a consultation.