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The 4th of July is the day America celebrates its independence and freedom. This patriotic holiday is synonymous with fireworks, BBQ’s, friends, family and food. Unfortunately, Independence day is also the day hundreds of Americans choose to put their freedom on the line by getting in their car and driving while drunk. In fact, the 4th of July is actually the deadliest day of the year to be on the road. With this fact in mind, DUI lawyer Tempe, AZ Mark Weingart want to share with you the best ways to avoid a DUI and what to do in case you are pulled this holiday weekend.
Staying Safe Means Preparing
The best thing you can do this holiday weekend to avoid getting a DUI is be prepared. If you know that you are going out and are going to be drinking, then plan from the beginning to complete all your activities without driving. This is actually much easier than people think.
There are multiple resources readily available to people which will allow them to arrive at all their intended destinations without having to take a seat behind the wheel of a car. It just takes a little bit of planning. However, when you are gambling with your freedom, a little planning seems like a fair trade.
Your Rights During A DUI Related Traffic Stop
The first thing you need to understand is that you have rights during a DUI traffic stop, no matter the reasons for the stop. As a resident of Arizona, you have rights.
If you are stopped at a DUI checkpoint, be aware that you will be asked to produce your driver’s licence and registration. This is a lawful request and one you must abide by. However, be aware that at this point the officer is not only looking at your licence but you attitude, response, behavior and your ability and coordination skills during the time in which you are relinquishing your information.
If an officer asks you to step out of your car or pulls you out of the line of traffic to ask you further questions you must also comply to this. Refusal to comply with these requests can and will result in criminal charges.
At this point, the officer may ask you to participate in a DUI field sobriety test. This is where it is important to know your right. Field sobriety tests are not mandatory by law in the state of Arizona. In fact, it is advised that if you are asked to perform one, you VERY politely decline. The reason for this is that FST are often inaccurate and biased.
The next thing an officer may ask you to participate in is a breath test. In the state of Arizona, you are allowed to refuse this as well. However, be aware that declining to take a breath test carries with it civil consequences. refusal to take a breath will result in a one-year loss of driving privileges. Even if you were not impaired at the time you were asked to perform the breath test, you will still suffer the civil consequences. The prosecution can also use your refusal to take a breath test at your trial.
If the police have “probable cause” from other evidence at the time of the DUI stop, be aware that despite your refusal to perform a breath test, an officer can order a warrant from a judge on call in order to secure the right to draw your blood against your will and test it for alcohol. That being said it’s best to comply when asked to perform a breath test.
We hope these hints help you make through this 4th of july safely. And remember to stay off the roads if you have been drinking. Not only is this a deadly mistake, but one you WILL be caught for as well. If you do end up getting a DUI this holiday weekend, then your next step should be calling us here at the Weingart Firm.
Be safe this weekend and have fun!