UNDERSTANDING YOUR RIGHTS WHEN YOU ARE PULLED OVER FOR A DUI
July 9, 2021
According to data from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), 49,730 DUI arrests were made statewide in 2018. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious offense. On suspicion of DUI, a police officer may pull you over, request for your documentation, ask you a series of questions or request that you take a field sobriety test or chemical test. Unfortunately, many motorists are unaware of their rights when pulled over by law enforcement on suspicion of a DUI.
I am dedicated to providing comprehensive legal guidance and strong representation to clients facing drunk driving charges. I'm available to discuss your circumstances and educate you about your rights when you are pulled over for a DUI. As an experienced Pennsylvania DUI defense attorney, I can fight aggressively to protect your rights and represent you in every stage of the legal proceedings. My firm proudly serves clients across Philadelphia, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Chester County, and Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
What You Should Know About Your Rights
Surprisingly, a lot of Americans do not know their rights when they are stopped by the police. Even when you're pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, you still have rights. Below are some of your rights when you are pulled over for a DUI:
You Have the Right to Not Incriminate Yourself
When pulled over by the police, follow the standard pull-over procedures and do not incriminate yourself. Always be respectful, courteous, and give the officer required documentation (license, insurance information, and registration).
Do not offer additional information. You can tell the officer that you've been advised not to answer any questions but be polite about it. In other words, you don't have to answer questions such as where you were, who you are with, or how many drinks you've had.
You Have the Right to Refuse to Take Field Sobriety Tests
Pennsylvania's implied consent law does not apply to field sobriety tests. You are within your rights to refuse to take field sobriety tests. However, such refusal can work against you, as it may be viewed as evidence of intoxication. Taking chemical tests at the station is not optional without penalty.
You Have the Right to Refuse The Preliminary or Portable Breath Test
As with field sobriety tests, Pennsylvania's implied consent law does not apply to preliminary breath tests. The preliminary breath test is the breath alcohol test that is administered roadside after being pulled over. You have the right to refuse the preliminary or portable breath test, and there won't be civil penalties. However, this should not be confused with a breath test done at the police station, which is required in order to avoid penalties.
You Have the Right to Have a Physician of Your Choosing Administer the Chemical Test
You have the right to request that the chemical test be administered by a physician of your choice. Pursuant to Pennsylvania Vehicle Code Title 75 Section 1547(h), "the person tested shall be permitted to have a physician of his own choosing administer an additional breath or blood chemical test, and the results of the test shall also be admissible in evidence."
This right, however, is not absolute. A chemical test needs to be administered within a certain time frame. A long delay to secure one's physician of choice to administer the test may not be practical. This may result in the arresting officer deeming the delay a refusal to take the chemical test.
You Have the Right to Request A Copy of the Chemical Test Results
You can request a copy of your chemical test results. According to Pennsylvania Vehicle Code Title 75 Section 1547(g), "upon the request of the person tested, the results of any chemical test shall be made available to him or his attorney."
Let an Experienced DUI Attorney Help
Understanding your rights when you are pulled over for a DUI and the ramifications of a refusal to submit to chemical testing is important to help you evaluate your options. If you were pulled over for a DUI, or if you're facing drunk driving accusations, retaining a skilled criminal defense attorney is vital to protect your rights and strategize an effective defense.
At The Law Offices of John Della Rocca, I have the resources and experience to represent people in their DUI cases. As your attorney, I will review and investigate the details of your arrest and determine whether the police had reasonable suspicion to pull you over.
I will evaluate the various tests that were conducted by the officers, how they were carried out, and identify possible issues or inconsistencies during the testing. Using my understanding of the law, I will fight to defend your driving privileges.
Contact my firm — The Law Offices of John Della Rocca — today to schedule a case assessment with a knowledgeable DUI defense attorney. I can offer you the experienced legal counsel and reliable representation you need to fight your drunk driving charges. I'm proud to represent clients across Philadelphia, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Chester County, and Bucks County, PA.