What Are Your Rights and Obligations When Pulled Over for DUI?
Being stopped on suspicion of drunk driving can be scary, but it’s important to remember that you have rights, and if those rights are violated, you may be able to have your charges dismissed or reduced. On the other hand, you have to follow certain procedures and police officer requests during the stop.
If you are pulled over on suspicion of DUI, or for any other reason, these are some of your most important obligations:
- Do not attempt to evade the police by driving faster or stopping and trying to run — You can be charged with additional offenses such as the crime of “fleeing and eluding,” which can be a felony carrying a prison sentence of one to five years.
- Exit your vehicle upon request — Once you are stopped, you must step out of your vehicle if the officer asks you to do so. Georgia courts and the U.S. Supreme Court have repeatedly held that drivers do not have the right to refuse to exit the vehicle during a stop.
- Provide your driver’s license and proof of insurance — You must provide your license and insurance when an officer requests them. Drivers in Georgia have been convicted of misdemeanor obstruction for refusing to furnish these documents.
Georgia law recognizes certain rights for DUI suspects in a traffic stop. A series of state Supreme Court decisions between 2017 and 2022 establishes the following protocols:
- Once you’ve been arrested, the officer must read you Georgia’s implied consent notice, which includes asking you to submit to chemical tests.
- You do not have to say or admit anything, other than providing your name, driver’s license and insurance.
- You have the right to refuse the officer’s request for a breath or blood test or urine sample.
- If you refuse a breath test, your refusal cannot be used against you in court, but your driver’s license can be suspended for one year.
- You do not have to submit to any field sobriety tests.
- Police can obtain a search warrant to draw your blood for testing.
If you are facing DUI charges, whether you submitted to chemical testing or refused, you should call a qualified Atlanta-area criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. The sooner an attorney can examine your case, the sooner an effective defense strategy can be built.
At the Decatur-based law firm of James D. Michael, P.C., we provide effective defenses for people accused of drunk driving in DeKalb County, Fulton County and all surrounding areas. You can arrange a free consultation by calling 404-857-4059 or contact us online and we will respond quickly.