A person’s right to remain silent allows them to refuse to answer police questions during a traffic stop. This means that when the officer asks if the driver has been drinking or where the driver is coming from, the driver is not under any obligation to answer. However, invoking this right involves practical issues. Refusing to cooperate with the officer is technically allowed but may make the traffic stop more difficult. Consequently, a driver’s being polite and courteous is key, when exercising these rights. A Salt Lake City UT DWI lawyer wants you to know, however, that the right to remain silent is not the same as the right to lie. While the driver does not need to answer the officer’s questions, the information they do choose to provide must be truthful. Further, the right to remain silent also has an exception. The law requires drivers to produce their driver’s license, a copy of their registration, and proof of insurance upon an officer’s request.
Do I have the right to refuse a field sobriety test?
This right extends to refusing field sobriety tests as well. Police will often request that people perform some sort of physical challenge or coordination test to determine if they are sober. While refusing these tests will likely result in a longer traffic stop, it makes it more difficult for the state to pursue a DWI conviction.
Do I have the right to not consent to a search of my vehicle?
In addition to the right to remain silent, drivers also have the right to refuse to give the officer permission to search their vehicle. This is not the same as a right not to have the vehicle searched. The officer may still search the car if they have probable cause to suspect something illegal, but evidence from unconsented searches is harder for the state to use at trial.
Can I refuse a breathalyzer test?
This right not to consent to a search also affects whether a person must submit to a breathalyzer test. People do have the right to refuse such a test, however, Utah has an “implied consent” law, which means such a refusal could result in a driver’s license suspension. Still, that may be preferable to a DUI conviction. If you are facing DWI charges, call Rasmussen & Miner
to meet with a skilled Salt Lake City UT DWI lawyer