Do I have the right to speak with an attorney?

If your vehicle has been stopped by Arizona law enforcement in order to determine if you are driving under the influence (DUI), prior to answering questions or performing any field sobriety tests (FSTs), you it is important to make a request to consult your legal counsel.

Anyone detained by law enforcement has an absolute right to consult with an attorney in private as soon as possible after making that request. In Arizona, it is important that you should consult experienced Arizona DUI lawyers like those associated with the Law Offices of Craig W. Penrod, P.C.

Law enforcement officers are required to have probable cause to believe that a person is DUI prior to requesting that DUI suspect submit to any form of testing designed to measure their blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Law enforcement officers may stop a motor vehicle after observing erratic speed changes, an inability of the vehicle to remain inside traffic lanes, the failure of a vehicle to yield at stop signs, intersections, or stop lights or for aggressive driving. Law enforcement officers will often engage DUI suspects in a conversation in order to assess the ability of the DUI suspect to carry on a conversation and maintain eye contact. Officers will be looking for signs of slurred speech, the smell of alcohol on the suspect's breath, bloodshot eyes or comments by the suspect recently leaving a party or a bar.

If probable cause can be established, a law enforcement officer has the right to request the DUI suspect to submit to a blood, urine or breath test either at a police station or a local hospital. The suspect has the right to refuse these tests, but under implied consent regulations anyone who refuses to submit to the tests may be considered to be guilty. The side of the road is not an appropriate location for an arguments with law enforcement officers especially if you have asked to speak to your attorney. Your attorney will tell you that the side of the road is not an appropriate location for you to initiate legal arguments that should be made in court. DUI suspects should be polite and are not required to answer any questions without a lawyer present. You will obviously draw more suspicion to yourself if you are not respectful. Also, if you do not answer questions it is wise to respond to any questions politely, but with vague information. You should not, under any circumstances, disclose any information about your recent consumption of alcohol.

DUI suspects also have the right to refuse FSTs or a chemical test of their blood breath or urine. FSTs are very subjective and can easily be used against you. If the investigating officers threaten you after your refusal to submit to the tests, you should perform the tests, but make it clear that you do not consent to the tests. Evidence of the your refusal and your submission to the tests under protest can be used later in court to suppress the test results.

Law enforcement officers are not required to advise you of your Miranda rights against self-incrimination until you have been charged and you are in custody. Officers are allowed to ask you questions and any answers can be used as evidence against you in a court. Officers questioning you on the side of the road are not required to inform you that you do have the right to be silent. Only after you are under arrest and have been taken into custody are the police required to advise you of your Miranda rights. If you have not been allowed to speak to an attorney prior to this point you should make that request and refuse say anything else without a lawyer to advise you.

It is important that your DUI legal situation should be handled by expert professionals with the experience possessed by the attorneys at the Law Offices of Craig W. Penrod, P.C.

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