As experienced DUI attorney Salt Lake City, our practice sees first-hand how problematic a traffic stop can be, especially if the officer believes you were driving under the influence.
In Utah, a DUI conviction — even the first one — can result in jail time, substantial fines and the loss of your driver’s license. Your auto insurance premium will skyrocket, if you can find coverage at all. Should your family, friends or co-workers find out, your reputation in the community could be compromised.
Obviously you have a lot riding on what happens during a traffic stop. Whether or not you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs when an officer stops you, you can take steps to minimize the potential damage.
A Lawful Reason Is Required for a Traffic Stop
An officer of the law cannot stop your vehicle without a clear reason to suspect that you’ve broken the law. That reason, however, can be as minor as an illegal lane change or a broken taillight.
Whatever reason the officer cites for the traffic stop, you have little chance of disproving it. Don’t try. In fact, leave any debate about the stop’s legality to your DUI lawyer Salt Lake City.
Don’t argue the officer’s assertions, but don’t admit to anything either. Instead, tell the officer that you prefer not to answer any questions without your attorney present. Be polite and cooperative, remain calm and keep your temper in check. Becoming angry or argumentative can only hurt you.
Establishing Probable Cause for a Utah DUI Arrest
Once you have been stopped, the officer must establish probable cause for believing you may be under the influence and unable to drive safely.
Common reasons cited for the legal standard of probable cause are that the officer smelled alcohol on your breath, that your eyes were red or that your speech indicated inebriation.
The most reliable way for the officer to establish probable cause is to request that you undergo field sobriety tests. The key word here is request, because they cannot compel to you perform the field sobriety test.
Just say no. Say no, calmly, politely and without elaboration, to anything you are asked to do voluntarily.
Arrest and Chemical Testing for DUI
Once you decline to undergo a field sobriety test, it is likely that the officer will place you under arrest. At that time, you become legally obligated to submit to chemical testing. DUI testing is conducted most often by analyzing your breath; however, both urine and blood tests are allowable in Utah.
Refusing to undergo the chemical testing can have dire consequences. The consequences are, in fact, much worse than a first DUI conviction likely would be. Although the choice is yours, most DUI attorneys recommend that you agree to any chemical testing.
As quickly as possible after your arrest, ask to contact your lawyer. Keep asking, politely but firmly. Again, do not answer any questions without your DUI attorney or talk to others about your situation.
If you follow these directions, your lawyer will have a much better chance of minimizing the potential damage.
If you have been arrested for DUI in Utah, contact the Law Office of David Paul White as soon as possible. We have extensive experience successfully defending clients against DUI charges throughout the Salt Lake City area, including St. George and the surrounding communities.
Contact us today if you are in need of an experienced Utah criminal defense or DUI attorney.