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Anne Arundel County DUI Stops

If you have been pulled over and are suspected of being under the influence in Maryland, the following is information on what you can expect to take place at your DUI stop. To learn more or begin building a defense, call and schedule a consultation with an Anne Arundel DUI lawyer today.

DUI Stop Process

The first step in any stop is being pulled over for some kind of violation. An officer can not simply pull you over because they want to, which means there needs to be some type of violation that took place. However once you are pulled over, an officer will begin to look for the signs of impairment including:

  • Whether there is an odor of alcohol
  • Your eyes are bloodshot or watery
  • Whether you slur your words

If the officer does notice these signs or something else that makes them believe you might be under the influence, you will likely be asked to step out of the car to take a field sobriety test.

Standard field sobriety tests are generally administered with the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test (pdf), which is following the pen; the walk and turn test, which is nine steps out, a counterclockwise turn, and nine steps back; and the one legged stand, where you are standing on one leg, your preferred leg, and the other leg is 6 inches off the ground for an observation period of no less than 30 seconds.

Will The Officer Want to Search the Vehicle?

Depending on what the odor may be and what may be in plain sight that they see at the stop, the officer may want to search your vehicle. If an odor of marijuana is present, the officer may search the vehicle to see if there are drugs, drug paraphernalia, or even alcohol. If they see an open bottle on the ground, they want to see what it is. That is in plain sight and you are really not protected, especially in a vehicle that has very low protections with regards to the Fourth Amendment.

Mistakes to Avoid During a DUI Stop

The single biggest mistake that people make is talking too much to law enforcement at the scene. Although you are required to present your license and registration, it is not a good idea to say any more than that. For example, if an officer asks how much you’ve had to drink or where you are coming from, it is likely in your best interest to politely decline to answer.

If you do choose to talk or answer the officer’s questions you risk saying something that could end up incriminating you at a later time. These types of statements can often times be hard to come back from, which means it’s usually just a better idea not to say any more than you have to.

Legal Rights At a DUI Stop

There are a number of legal rights you possess when stopped by law enforcement in Anne Arundel. The first is the right to avoid self-incrimination which means you don’t have to answer any of the officers questions beyond providing identifying information.  In addition, you do not have to participate in the standard field sobriety tests or the preliminary breath test. With both of these tests you have the right to say no.

Miranda Rights at DUI Stops

Miranda has been relaxed by the United States Supreme Court and therefore is not an expectation of yours to be read Miranda rights at any point in time during a DUI stop.