When you are arrested on the suspicion of drinking and driving, your legal rights will become very important to you. No matter what state in the U.S. You live in, you are protected by certain rights thanks to the United States Constitution. If you are being accused of a DUI, here are three constitutional amendments that you need to be aware of to protect yourself as best as you can until you can speak to legal counsel:
The Fourth Amendment Right
The Fourth Amendment protects you against any form of unreasonable search and seizure. So, when you are stopped in your vehicle by a police officer, the officer must have a reasonable suspicion that can be articulated to you and anyone else necessary that you have broken the law in some way prior to being able to conduct the stop. If probable cause cannot be demonstrated by the police officer, then any evidence that is obtained during that traffic stop could potentially be thrown out of court. This includes the results of a breathalyzer or the open beer bottles in your car.
The Fifth Amendment Right
The Fifth Amendment refers to the rights that any individual has if they are being accused of or charged with a crime. This includes the right to guard yourself against self-incrimination. With that being said, your right to remain silent comes into play here, which is the very first right that is said to you when you are read your Miranda rights. Police are not necessarily required to read you your Miranda rights, but if they fail to do so when they should have, the answers that you give to any questions that are asked of you during that time could be ruled inadmissible later on in court proceedings. Just remember that anything you say can and will likely be used as evidence against you because your Miranda rights don't mean much until you are actually in the custody of the authorities.
The Sixth Amendment Right
The Sixth Amendment ensures that individuals who are being accused of or charged with a crime are provided with legal counsel. In other words, if you cannot afford to hire the services of a lawyer, one could be offered to you at no charge. These court-appointed lawyers are known as public defenders, and they are not always available. In some cases, it could depend on the severity of your DUI charge, the state in which you live and are being charged in, and various other factors. According to NOLO.com, if you could potentially go to jail for six months for the crime that you allegedly committed, the goverment is obligated to provide you legal counsel at the government's expense. Something to keep in mind is that public defenders do not specialize in DUI defense, as they represent a wide range of clients who have been charged with an assortment of crimes. It may be in your best interest to seek out the help of a private DUI lawyer.
To find out more about your constitutional rights as a U.S. Citizen during and after apprehension by police, consult with an attorney or visit http://www.jdlarsonlaw.com.