Your Rights During a Manassas DUI Stop

DUI stops and arrests in Manassas are fairly common. Local law enforcement, prosecutors, and courts all want to reduce instances of drunk driving, and are thus hyper-vigilant for potential DUIs. Because DUI stops are so frequent, it is vital that someone know what to expect should he or she be pulled over for a DUI stop in Manassas. Call and schedule a consultation with a Manassas DUI lawyer as soon as possible to learn more about the process and the aftermath.

Rights During a Manassas DUI Stops

You have rights that exist regardless of whether the police have an obligation to warn you about them. You have the Fifth Amendment right to remain silent at all times. You also always have the right to demand that an attorney be present during questioning. Such rights do not cease to exist when you are stopped by the police, nor do they cease to exist simply because the officer is not constitutionally obligated to advise you of those rights.

Miranda Rights

Courts have regularly held that a person does not need to be advised of his rights under Miranda during a traffic stop because that encounter is classified as an investigative detention. Such a stop does not legally rise to the level of “custody,” and a person is entitled to be read his Miranda rights only when he is in police custody. Therefore, until a person is arrested, he does not have the right to be advised of his Miranda rights.

Rights During or Immediately After a DUI Arrest

Your rights remain the same whether you are under arrest or not. However, an arrest is categorized as being in custody for Fifth Amendment purposes, which obligates the officer, if he plans to ask you any further questions, to advise you of your rights under Miranda at that time. Miranda warnings, as they are commonly known, is when the police tells you that you have the right to remain silent, that you have the right to consult legal counsel prior to answering questions, and that you have the right to stop questioning at any time.

Once a person is arrested, the officer is entitled under the Fourth Amendment to search the vehicle without warrant. In many cases, the officer might search the vehicle to look for evidence of intoxication, such as bar receipts, open containers of alcohol, and things of that nature. However, officers do not always conduct a search; it depends on the whim of the officer at that time. The law is clear that officers are allowed to search, but whether they do or not is left to the discretion of the officer. Individuals are under no obligation whatsoever to consent to any search of any vehicle at any time, even after they’ve been placed under arrest.

Asking to Speak to a Manassas DUI Lawyer

A person can ask to speak with a lawyer at any time. However, specifically during a DUI stop, a person is not actually entitled to speak to a lawyer. Once a person specifically invokes their right to counsel by saying something along the lines of, “I don’t want to say anything more without a lawyer being present,” then all questioning of that person must stop, assuming that person is in custody.

The question of whether that person is in custody depends entirely upon the facts and circumstances surrounding the police encounter at that time. Courts have regularly held that a traffic stop does not constitute custody for the purposes of the Fifth Amendment (which governs your right to an attorney and right to silence) and the Miranda warnings. However, even if not in police custody, an individual is certainly entitled to refrain from answering any questions other than basic identifying information for any officers.