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L. Morgan Martin, p.A.
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Pulled over for drunk driving, now what?

Routine traffic stops can be difficult for drivers to experience. There are times when a driver may know what the stop is about, and other times when he or she honestly has no idea why the police officer initiated the stop. For those in South Carolina and elsewhere who have been pulled over for alleged drunk driving, they may not feel there is much they can do in the moment to protect themselves. This, however, is actually far from the truth.

When a person is driving while impaired, in any way, it is often obvious by his or her actions. However, because of so many different variables, police officers are generally required to perform field sobriety and breath testing on those whom they suspect to be intoxicated. Unfortunately, there are a number of missteps that may be taken along the way that can result in a driver being falsely accused and facing DUI charges.

Despite one’s best efforts, police may find probable cause to initiate a traffic stop. This may be due to some sort of moving violation or vehicle defect — among others. Once the stop has occurred, an officer then may choose to perform DUI testing, but there must be some sort of factual basis for this decision. Drivers can help themselves in this type of situation by being courteous to officers, but this does not mean that they have to be 100 percent compliant. It is okay to refuse DUI testing — however, there are consequences if this is done — and it is okay to refuse to answer questions about whether one has been drinking.

Understandably, those residing in South Carolina may feel that failing to comply with officers’ demands or refusing to answer any questions may have extremely negative side effects. Depending on the circumstances, being non-compliant may create a few issues, but being compliant can do just the same. Those who are, ultimately, accused of drunk driving can fight any criminal charges filed against them. In the process of doing so, it will be imperative to review and question every aspect of the traffic stop that led to one’s arrest. By taking this action, it may be possible to find errors in procedure which could then lead to a case dismissal or a reduction in charges.

Source: motorists.org, “How To Protect Your Rights During A DUI Traffic Stop“, Accessed on Oct. 18, 2015

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