Knowing Your Rights Can Help After A DUI Stop
The penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) have become increasingly harsh over the last decade or more. No law has the power to strip away your rights, however, including your constitutional rights and other established common law rights. By knowing your rights at the moment of the traffic stop and working to preserve your rights immediately after an arrest, you can protect your liberty, your license and your reputation from the damage of a DUI conviction. It is important to act quickly.
A smart decision is to enlist the representation of a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible following your arrest. In central Mississippi, that attorney is Mel Coxwell of the Law Offices of Mel Coxwell.
Your Rights During A Traffic Stop
If you are stopped by police for a traffic violation or for suspicion of DUI in Mississippi, you have certain rights. First, remember your Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. You are not required to discuss where you have been or where you are going. Even without “taking the Fifth,” you can avoid self-incrimination. You do not have to participate in a roadside sobriety test, nor are you required to answer a police officer’s question about how much you have had to drink or any other question.
Roadside sobriety tests are used by police to establish probable cause to conduct a blood, urine or breath alcohol test. They can be politely refused. However, remember always to treat the officer with proper respect and never forcibly resist the officer. Once an officer establishes probable cause, a driver is required to take a blood, urine or breathe alcohol test or face serious penalties, including additional license suspension.
Your Rights After An Arrest
If you are arrested, you have the right to independent testing of your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). We can help you get independent testing and to see whether the test performed by the police was legal and properly administered. You also have the right to have an attorney present during all questioning. You may refuse to answer any questions until an attorney is present.
Under Mississippi law, your license will be suspended if you are arrested for drunk driving. You have a right to appeal the administrative suspension. However, this appeal must be made as quickly as possible. In Mississippi, you have only 10 days to file an administrative appeal.
Do Not Go It Alone
If you know and protect your rights during a traffic stop and after an arrest, you may be able to protect yourself from the legal and personal ramifications of a DUI conviction. But it is never wise to navigate through this process alone. An experienced DUI lawyer will help you fight the conviction to the maximum extent possible.
If you are charged with DUI, you want to retain a knowledgeable defense attorney as soon as possible. Attorney Mel Coxwell specializes in handling DUI cases. Contact the Law Offices of Mel Coxwell today to protect your rights. We represent individuals in Rankin, Madison and Hinds counties from our office in Brandon. Call 601-724-8723 or use the contact form on this website.