Meriden DUI Enforcement
DUI laws are stringently enforced in Connecticut and can be extremely costly for those who are arrested and convicted both from a financial and personal perspective. With this in mind, if you have been charged or even accused of driving while under the influence, you need a skilled and knowledgeable DUI defense attorney on your side. A lawyer will be able to represent you, both during your criminal hearing, as well as at the administrative hearing which is set by the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
Traffic Stops in Connecticut
Most of the time, the real reason why Connecticut police officers pull drivers over is not for texting, speeding, running a stop sign, or failing to use a turn signal. In most cases, the traffic stop occurs because the officer suspects that the driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
It is important to note that these pretextual traffic stops are, in fact, constitutional – even if the police officer has an ulterior motive for pulling the vehicle over.
DUI checkpoints, also known as sobriety checkpoints, are also constitutional. Although traffic stops and DUI checkpoints are legal, a person’s constitutional rights still apply at these traffic stops.
Vehicle Searches in Connecticut
A police officer may not constitutionally search a vehicle for alcohol or drugs unless there is probable cause to do so. This usually means that the officer believes that you are more likely than not under the influence of drugs or alcohol while behind the wheel.
An automatic search of a driver’s vehicle without probable cause (or an applicable legal exception to probable cause) is unconstitutional.
Answering a Police Officer’s Questions at a Traffic Stop
During a traffic stop, a driver is not required to answer a police officer’s questions or admit to breaking the law – or to being under the influence of alcohol. This legal right against self-incrimination stems from the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
A driver cannot be forced to answer a police officer’s questions or to speak without having an attorney present during the questioning. If a police officer begins asking questions during a traffic stop, the driver should politely decline to answer those questions until such time as an attorney is present.
Connecticut law also provides that a driver is provided a reasonable amount of time to speak with an attorney.
Field Sobriety Tests
Field sobriety tests at DUI checkpoints are integral to Meriden DUI enforcement. DUI stops may consist of one or more of the following:
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus (where the officer makes the individual follow a penlight with the eyes)
- Alphabet recitation
- Modified position of attention
- Hand pat test
Individuals are not required to take field sobriety tests, and most police officers have already made up their minds in advance about whether or not they are going to arrest someone. Going through with the test only gives the officer more potential ammunition to introduce later on in court.
Discussing Your Case
Meriden DUI enforcement is taken quite seriously. As a result, DUI stops and arrests can be scary experiences, and too much is on the line to go-it-alone when it comes to court proceedings and DMV hearings. If you have been arrested for a DUI, get in touch with a skilled DUI defense lawyer who can advocate for you.