Greensville County DUI Stops
Before pulling drivers over for a possible DUI, Greensville County officers look for any driving behavior that might indicate some level of impairment for any reason. Officers are also going to be observing if anyone is walking out of a restaurant or bar seeming unsteady on their feet or exhibiting signs of intoxication when they head to their car.
A typical DUI stop is going to look much like a regular traffic stop at first. As the investigation by law enforcement continues, a DUI stop will end up taking far longer than an ordinary traffic stop. It could often take as long as an hour from beginning to completion. A DUI stop almost always ends in arrest with the law enforcement officer taking the driver to a police station to administer a breath test. Occasionally, a blood test will be administered and the accused will usually be held overnight and released the next morning.
Read below to learn more about Greensville DUI stops and how an accomplished lawyer could help you.
Process of a DUI Stop
The general step-by-step process for the DUI stop involves the law enforcement officer pulling over the vehicle by initiating sirens and lights. After stopping the vehicle, they ask the driver basic questions and eventually ask the driver to get out of the vehicle. The officer then instructs the driver about the field sobriety tests and asks the driver to perform them one by one. Usually following the field sobriety tests, the officer gives the driver an opportunity to take a preliminary breath test. Following the results of the preliminary breath test, the officer typically arrests the driver at that point if they have shown any indication whatsoever of possible impairment. Following the arrest, the officer conducts further tests, either a breath test or a blood test, and concludes the arrest by taking the driver to the magistrate and having a warrant issued in and served to the driver. The driver will be held and then released after a few hours.
Questions Asked During a DUI Stop
During a DUI stop in Greensville County, the kinds of questions the officer is going to ask are basic questions regarding their driver’s license and registration of the vehicle. They are also going to ask where the driver is coming from and where are they going. They are usually going to follow that up with a question related to whether the driver has had anything to drink or has taken any other substances, including prescription medication, prior to driving that day.
Often the officer will want to search the vehicle involved, especially if the officer suspects impairment that does not relate to alcohol. Officers will also look for open containers of alcohol in the vehicle and possible drugs, whether prescription drugs or other illegal drugs, as evidence of impairment of the driver.
People never need to consent to a search of their person or vehicle during any traffic stop encountered by law enforcement. Drivers should refuse to consent to any searches because it undermines possible defenses when they get to trial.
Drivers do not need to consent to a search of their vehicle after being arrested for a DUI. If a search is necessary as part of the arrest, law enforcement officers have some authority to search a vehicle related to an arrest. However, a driver should never provide consent for any search at any time.
Implied Consent Law
Implied consent is a law in Virginia that states that any person operating a motor vehicle within the Commonwealth of Virginia is deemed to have consented to having samples of their blood, breath, or both taken to determine whether or not they might be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Implied consent applies to DUI cases because it is inherent in all stops even though the driver has already consented to a chemical test of their blood or breath to determine what substances might be in their body. Determining what substances might have been consumed by the driver is an element necessary to be proven in court before being able to obtain a conviction for DUI.
Mistakes to Avoid at a DUI Stop in Greensville County
The biggest mistake to avoid in Greensville County DUI stops includes never admitting to consuming any alcohol or other drugs. Admitting to the consumption of alcohol or drugs provides evidence that might not otherwise be available against the accused in court. If the law enforcement officer and prosecution intend to prove that the driver was operating a vehicle under the impairment of alcohol or drugs, their own investigation should be able to elicit the necessary evidence to do so. Statements made during the stop by the driver almost always undermine possible defenses that the driver would otherwise have when they go to court. Other mistakes to avoid include consenting to search their vehicle. A driver should never consent to any search of their vehicle or person.
During a DUI stop, a person retains all of their constitutional rights, including the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures by law enforcement officers, the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, and the Sixth Amendment right to counsel.