Spokane law enforcement recently announced that it plans to create two new law enforcement positions, which will be dedicated exclusively monitoring potential DUI violations. Prior to the creation of this anti-DUI program, all Spokane law enforcement was tasked with enforcing DUI cases. Statistics reveal that from 2007 to 2011, Spokane Police Department averaged 580 DUI arrests each year while from 2012 to 2016 there were 368 arrests each year, which marks a 36% decline. There are some distinct advantages that have been recognized in the program including more emphasis at combating drunk driving and allowing some Spokane law enforcement officers to have more time to enforce non-DUI offenses. The changes to the Spokane Police Department required $140,000 to be paid through a grant from the Washington Traffic Safety Commision.
With the rate at which individuals are pulled over in the Spokane area anticipated to increase significantly, this article will review some of the constitutional rights that motorists have during a DUI stop. It is pivotal that individuals understand these elements and remember to exercise them if involved in a DUI related situation with law enforcement.
Law Enforcement Must Have a Reason for Pulling a Person Over
It is essential that law enforcement has a legitimate reason for pulling over a motorist. Some of the most common reasons include motor vehicle operators who are driving erratically, failing to yield, speeding, traveling too slow, or not staying inside lanes of traffic. During these stops, law enforcement officers will carefully be evaluating an individual's presence to determine if he or she presents any of the signs of someone who is under the influence of alcohol including bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, or the smell of alcohol on a person's breath.
The Right to Remain Silent
Motor vehicle operators who are pulled over for a DUI almost always should avoid making legal arguments about their case. Instead, motor vehicle operators must remember that they have the right to remain silent and avoid answering any questions without an attorney present. Because law enforcement is likely to grow suspicious of an individual who simply does not respond, it is often better for motorists to answer questions politely but with vague information as opposed to specific answers. Motorists should also avoid telling law enforcement that they had even one or two alcoholic drinks because this can help law enforcement establish probable cause.
To Arrest a Person of a DUI, Law Enforcement Needs Probable Cause
In the state of Washington, law enforcement requires probable cause before a person can be arrested for driving under the influence. Probable cause can be based on observations by law enforcement about a driver's behavior. Field sobriety tests are another way that law enforcement often determines whether probable cause exists. If probable cause does not exist in a case, law enforcement cannot lawfully arrest an individual.
Speak with a DUI Lawyer
If you or a loved is involved in a DUI accident, the legal counsel at West Law Office can be of substantial help. Contact our law office today by calling (509) 993-0748 or completing our convenient online form.