The average person naturally feels nervous during a Georgia traffic stop. When an officer pulls someone over on suspicion of drunk driving, tensions may rise even higher. Instead of facing a traffic ticket, those arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) offenses are at risk of criminal prosecution.
Once someone realizes that a police officer believes they are under the influence, the mood of their interaction with the officer may change. How should people behave themselves during an impaired driving traffic stop in Georgia?
Cooperate without going too far
People often get themselves into legal trouble during a traffic stop either because they are overly accommodating toward the officer or because they are overly oppositional. Both approaches can be similarly dangerous.
Complying with an officer as required by the law is important, as is knowing when an officer has made an unreasonable request. People driving a vehicle do have a requirement to identify themselves, but they do not have to consent to a search of their body or their vehicle in most cases. They also have the right to refuse to perform field sobriety tests. Police officers asking to perform a test are often looking for a reason to arrest a driver.
When can a driver decline chemical testing?
Police officers in certain circumstances can expect drivers to submit to a chemical test. If they refuse, then the officer may have grounds to arrest them. According to Georgia’s implied consent law, if an officer has probable cause to suspect chemical impairment, they can request chemical testing as part of the arrest process. Refusing a chemical test after an arrest could be grounds for secondary charges and consequences.
Drivers arrested for intoxication at the wheel face an assortment of challenges. But, they also have certain rights that protect them once police officers officially arrest them. For example, those in state custody have the right to request legal representation and also the right to remain silent during police questioning.
Knowing and making use of one’s rights during an interaction with law enforcement is of the utmost importance for the protection of someone’s freedom and reputation.