When you are pulled over for the suspicion of drunk driving in Missouri, you need to start thinking about your defense right away. The best action you can take is speaking with a qualified DWI defense lawyer in your area. There are some specific points that might come into the picture when you are trying to fight the charges. Remember your rights and understanding how your actions might impact you.
One of the most important things that you can do when you are pulled over and a police officer suggests that you are impaired is to be respectful and remain silent. You do have to answer basic identifying questions, but that is the limit of what you must say. You need to show your driver’s license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance.
vReasonable suspicion versus probable cause
In order to stop you, the police officer needs to have reasonable suspicion to believe that you are impaired. Once they initiate the stop, they can investigate the matter. This can involve asking you to take a standardized field sobriety test or a blood alcohol concentration test. If they unearth proof that shows you are impaired, they will likely have probable cause and can arrest you.
Remembering your rights
Once you are in police custody, your Miranda rights come into the picture. In order to determine whether you are in custody, you can ask the officer if you are free to leave. If they reply that you are not free to go, you are in custody. When they place you in custody, they must read you your Miranda rights. These are the ones that let you know that you have the right to:
- Remain silent because your statements can be used against you
- Have an attorney with you during all questioning and to speak to one before being questioned
- Ask for an appointed attorney if you can’t afford to pay for a private one
These are the rights that are important because violations of them can be used in your criminal defense. As you are dealing with the police officer at the scene, make mental notes about what is going on. If you are convicted, there is an opportunity later on for DWI expungement, but preventing it from the beginning is always preferrable.
Your defense strategy for an impaired driving case must address the claims against you. Getting your case started as soon as possible gives you time to evaluate the prosecution’s case and find options for calling the points they are raising into question.