Getting arrested for any reason can be one of the most stressful moments of your life, especially if it’s your first “brush” with the law. Most of us have no intention of being arrested, but it does happen. For this reason, it’s essential to understand your rights during this time so that’ll you be prepared should you ever find yourself in this position. From the “right to remain silent” to how long law enforcement agents can detain you and other critical information, this article seeks to explain information about getting arrested in Missouri that may not be common knowledge while focusing mainly on DUI or DWI related arrests from start to finish. This information should not be used in place of legal advice from a licensed criminal attorney.
The first and possibly most important thing everyone should know once they have been arrested by police is that you have the right to consult with a DUI attorney in Springfield before speaking with a law enforcement officer. If you or a loved one has been arrested contact DWI Springfield, immediately. We will are here to help.
Understanding Your Rights When You Are Pulled Over For A DUI
If a police officer pulls you over under suspicion of driving under the influence, he or she must have had reasonable cause or suspicion to pull you over in the first place. This could include anything from swerving between lanes, not yielding to traffic signals, erratic driving, driving to slow or too fast, etc. Pulling someone over for leaving a bar late at night, is not reasonable suspicion.
Once you have been pulled over, the officer will ask for license and registration and will also ask what you have been doing or are up to that night. When this question is asked it may be followed by a drinking or even drug use inquiry. Before answering the officer, know that you have the choice and the right to remain silent*. You do not have to tell the officer what or where you have been. You may feel the urge to tell the officer everything at this point, but it should be noted that everything you say and do once you are pulled over and throughout the process can be used against you in court.
Other rights you should know if you are arrested for a DUI or any other crime, which usually fall under the blanket statement Miranda Rights and are designed to protect your rights as outlined by the fifth amendment, are:
- You have the right to remain silent and the right to refuse to answer questions.
- Anything you say can be used against you in a court of law.
- You have the right to a consultation with an attorney before speaking to the police. You also have the right for an attorney to be present during any questioning.
- If you are unable to afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you before any questioning occurs if you wish.
- You can decide to answer questions without an attorney present and stop answering questions at any time until you speak with an attorney.
When you are pulled over for a DWI in Missouri, there is another law that plays into your rights that isn’t required for other crimes. The Implied Consent Law of Missouri states that if you decide to operate a motor vehicle, you have “implied consent” to submit to a chemical BAC test (either urine, blood, or saliva). If you refuse to do so (which is your right) your driver’s license will be automatically revoked for one year, even if you are not charged for the crime of a DUI or DWI. If this has happened to you, you will want to discuss your options with a Springfield DUI attorney as soon as possible.
*If you refuse to answer any of the officer’s questions when they pull you over, you will be detained for questioning at a police station. This does not mean you are guilty. Simply call your Springfield DUI attorney to assist you during this process.
How Long Can The Police Detain You: Booking and Arrest Policies
If you are arrested you will be taken to a police station where you will either be booked in or detained for further questioning. As previously stated, you have the right to call your DUI attorney in Springfield at any time during this process.
If you are solely being detained and you believe that you are being detained unlawfully the first thing you should do is ask if you are or if you are free to leave. Until you do so, your detention is considered voluntary, even if you have expressed your choice to remain silent. If you don’t verbally ask to be let go you are, according to the law, volunteering to be detained. When you ask this question, the officer must either let you go or have a valid reason to continue to detain you. If you are not released, you should immediately state your desire to speak with a lawyer. If you are released, leave immediately. There is not a clearly defined length of time that an officer may legally detain someone and this varies greatly depending on the circumstances. Generally, an officer is only able to detain you for as long as it takes to conduct an investigation. In the case of a DUI arrest, this could include sobriety tests and questioning in the presence of your DUI attorney in Springfield.
If you have been arrested for the crime in question, you will be booked. The booking process includes providing the officer with basic information about yourself, such as your name, birthdate, address, etc. You will then be fingerprinted and have a photograph or “mug shot” taken.
Additionally, if you are arrested, law enforcement may legally perform a search of your person and take possession of your vehicle and search it as well.
Upon arrest, the police will take any personal property or money that you have on your person. You will then be asked to sign for these items only if you agree to the contents written on the inventory. Signing this agreement confirms that you own all of the items listed on this inventory, legal and illegal. If you do not agree, do not sign.
For further information on the arrest and post-booking process of an arrest contact your DUI Springfield attorneys at DWI Springfield. We are here to assist you in your next steps and discuss what legal options are available to you.