Being charged with a Scottsdale DUI is a stressful situation – one that you probably aren’t well-prepared to handle. You’re probably unaware of how to act in your own best interests when this happens. Nevertheless, you should know that you do have certain rights. This begins with your right to know that a police officer can’t simply pull you over without having a reasonable suspicion for doing so. They will need a valid justification and you should know what these consist of.
Legitimate Reasons Why Police Officers Can Pull You Over
To make an investigative stop, police officers must be certain beyond a shadow of a doubt that you’re committing a crime or acting in some way that breaks the law. Some of the legitimate reasons why a police officer can pull you over in the state of Arizona include:
• Speeding: This is the main reason why officers decide to make an investigative stop, especially late at night or very early in the morning as well as on a weekend evening. These are all times when officers make large numbers of Arizona DUI arrests because most of these people are coming home from the club feeling a little intoxicated.
• Dangerous driving: Things like moving from lane to lane erratically, not following traffic regulations, failing to yield, and making illegal U-turns warrant an officer to stop you. This type of hazardous driving increases everyone’s risk who’s on the road with you. It’s also oftentimes indicative of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
• Equipment violations: You should expect to be pulled over when something is wrong with the vehicle you’re driving. This includes things like broken taillights or headlights, too much window tint, a cracked windshield, or not having your license plate properly displayed. All these things are violations of Arizona’s motor vehicle laws.
• Using your cell phone while driving: When you’re texting or talking directly on your phone, without using a handsfree device, the police have enough reason to stop you.
• Following another vehicle too closely (a.k.a. tailgating): Although this is another type of hazardous driving, it’s something that needs to be mentioned separately because it happens way too frequently. This is something officers watch for because when you follow another vehicle too closely you increase the likelihood that an accident will occur. Failure to leave enough distance between you and the driver in front of you makes it impossible to react safely when an unexpected situation occurs. If you’ve consumed any alcohol before driving, you should know that your reaction time increases even more.
Other Ways You Can Get a Scottsdale DUI
It’s important to understand that you can get arrested for DUI in Scottsdale if you’re simply sitting in your driver’s seat with your vehicle’s keys in your possession while you’re drunk. The car doesn’t have to be turned on nor do your keys need to be in the ignition for this to happen. In fact, you can have the key in your pocket and this will still be enough for an officer to consider you in physical control of the vehicle.
So, when you’re tempted to sleep off a buzz in your car, make sure you demonstrate beyond a shadow of a doubt that you don’t have “actual physical control of the vehicle.” You can do this by sleeping in your backseat or passenger seat. Another option is to move your ignition key to someplace out of your reach.
You can also be arrested for a DUI if you’re caught riding drunk. So, if you feel like you’re too drunk to drive a car, it’s probably safe to assume that you’re too drunk to ride a bike. Your options are then to either walk or call a taxi, Uber, or Lyft.
How You Should React When Pulled Over for a Possible DUI
Even when an officer pulls you over for a legitimate reason, you still have your rights. These include:
• When an officer pulls you over, you have the right to ask them why they did so. Of course, you should always be polite and respectful. However, by showing them that you know your rights, you may trigger a wrongful investigation to stop.
• You can legally film your entire encounter with an Arizona state police officer. This is something you should opt for when you’re concerned about either your security or whether the officer is following the proper procedures. You never know if this recording will be helpful later, especially if you’re charged with a Scottsdale and Arizona DUI.
• Arizona police officers can’t search your vehicle without first obtaining explicit permission from you unless they have a probable cause to do so (e.g. the smell of marijuana coming from your vehicle).
• An officer can request that you perform a field sobriety test, but you can also refuse to do so. You do need to comply when an officer asks you to step out of your vehicle though. Failure to do so could lead to additional charges. When asked to perform a field sobriety test, politely but firmly say “no.” This is important because often times, this test’s results aren’t accurate. Fortunately, if you hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer they will know how to check on this aspect thoroughly.
When you’re pulled over for a DUI in Scottsdale, you should know your rights. One of your rights is that you can refuse to take a breathalyzer. Before you do so, you should prepare yourself for the consequences: The main one being that you’ll lose your driving privileges, even if they later determine that you didn’t commit a DUI. This is why you shouldn’t act hastily in this situation.
Instead, when you’re pulled over for a Scottsdale DUI, call us at Alcohol Screening Scottsdale at (602) 682-7017. We understand what you’re going through and how it can easily change your life. Fortunately, we have tools and options that can help you when you go to court – including things like alcohol screenings, classes, and rehab services. Let us help you get the help you need to make your day in court a bit easier.