DUI Pre-Arrest Investigation

Anything you say will be used against you. This includes the inflection and tone of your voice and any perceived slurring or confusion of words along with what you do say.

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Pre-Arrest Investigation

Know what to do if facing a DUI arrest

Finding yourself stopped by the police late at night on a West Virginia roadway after leaving a party or bar can produce the worst feelings of dread and intense anxiety. The minutes and hours following the stop of your vehicle may well determine how your case will turn out and if you have done all you could to protect your rights if you are facing a DUI arrest.

Field sobriety tests and remaining silent

With so many thoughts going through your mind and your heart racing, you need to calm down and remember your rights. The police officer’s main function is to determine if you have been drinking and he or she will interrogate you and ask you to take certain tests to confirm their suspicions. There are things you can do, or not do, within the law to give you the most opportune chance of having your DUI arrest and charges resolved in the best possible way.

You have the right to remain silent. While you must give the police your driver’s license, registration and insurance information, you can politely advise the officer that you will not answer any further questions posed by him or her. Your rights are protected by West Virginia law and the U.S. Constitution.

The police officer will usually request that you exit your vehicle and perform a Field Sobriety Test or FST (link to SFST page). These typically consist of following the officer’s finger with your eyes, standing on one leg and counting, and walking a straight line in addition to other tests that police often make up on the spot. These tests are voluntary and can be incriminating, so you are not lawfully obligated to take any of them. Politely advise the officer that you respectfully decline to take any field sobriety test. These tests are subjectively interpreted and persons with disabilities or injuries or who may only be fatigued may not perform them adequately. Consequently, a field sobriety test is not a reliable indication of a DUI.

The breathalyzer and speaking to a West Virginia DUI attorney

You have the right to speak to an attorney at any time. Advise the officer that you wish to speak with one in private. Call Todd La Neve TOLL-FREE at 877-7WV-LAWS (877-798-5297).

Another test the officer may request, or demand, you take at the scene of the vehicle stop is a hand held breath test. These devices are not reliable or accurate and you are not legally required to take one. However, if you are taken to the police station and a desk top breath device, or breathalyzer, is offered to you, your refusal to take that test can result in an enhanced suspension of your driver’s license (link to FAQ section on refusal to take breath test).

You have the right to refuse to take a breathalyzer to measure your blood alcohol content, but your refusal, unless justified under certain circumstances, will result in an enhanced suspension of your driver’s license and a probable DUI arrest. If you choose to take the breathalyzer at the police station or booking facility, you should also request a blood test at a hospital. West Virginia law requires the officer to provide you an opportunity to have a blood sample taken after you take the breath test, but the law does not require the officer to advise you of this fact.

Anything you say will be used against you. This includes the inflection and tone of your voice and any perceived slurring or confusion of words along with what you do say. Many times a person is so nervous or anxious that he or she may say things that do not make sense or will stumble over their words. Also, the police may be recording any conversation they have with you, or a person sitting next to you at the station or booking facility may tell the police something you said or did not say regarding the incident. Your best advice is to stay silent and speak to no one except West Virginia DUI lawyer Todd La Neve.

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