Memorial Day Weekend is the perfect way to kick off a memorable summer. Between the family outings, get-togethers and fun in the sun, this weekend is a great time to relax and socialize. No matter your pursuit, it is important to remember the legal limit when consuming alcohol – especially if you plan to drive. Law enforcement officials will be on patrol, and DUI checkpoints are prevalent during holiday weekends.
- If you are stopped at a checkpoint and you are unsure of how to proceed, keep in mind these basic rights:
You have the right to remain silent. As a citizen, you should never feel forced to answer questions by the police. Even at a DUI checkpoint, any answers you give can be used against you in court. When in doubt, remain silent. Questions asked and answers given before an official arrest are not protected under your Miranda Rights.
- You have the right to an attorney. Whether you are on the side of the road or at the police station, you are always at liberty to ask for an attorney. Having an attorney present during any type of questioning can help you avoid incriminating missteps.
- You have a reasonable right to privacy. Remember, the police can only search your car if you allow them to or if they have probable cause. No DUI checkpoint ever involves mandatory car searches.
- You have a right to refuse a breathalyzer test. You are never under obligation to complete a field breathalyzer test. The results can be used against you in court. If you do deny a breathalyzer test, however, it is important to note your license will be automatically (but not permanently) suspended. There are ways to regain driving privileges before or after an administrative hearing on your license suspension, and an attorney can help guide you on that process.
While we strongly advocate for safe and law-abiding alcohol consumption this weekend, we know that good people make mistakes. If you find yourself in need of legal counsel, contact the attorneys of Bannister, Wyatt & Stalvey at 864-523-7738 or online for a free consultation.