Columbia DUI Stops

While receiving a DUI charge can be a daunting situation, know that you do not have to face it alone. A dedicated DUI attorney knowledgeable about the proper procedures involved in Columbia DUI stops could examine whether or not law enforcement correctly conducted your arrest. If your rights were violated at any point during the traffic stop procedure and an attorney can establish that the officer did not have probable cause to pull you over, your case may be dismissed. Read on to learn more about Columbia DUI stops, as well as the ways a qualified lawyer could fight for your rights today.

When Can an Officer Conduct a Traffic Stop?

To pull a car over or to conduct Columbia DUI stops, an officer must either see reasonable suspicion of criminal activity or have probable cause of a traffic violation. If they saw someone drive over the center line, weave in their lane, run a stop sign, speed, or follow too close, those are all circumstances that police officers can use to justify their basis of a traffic stop. The United States Supreme Court has found that a traffic stop does constitute a seizure under the Fourth Amendment, so they have to have that legal standard satisfied before they turn on their blue lights and pull someone over.

What Happens During Columbia DUI Stops?

After the car pulls over and the driver has the encounter with the police, the officer, by law, once they put on their blue lights, has to start video recording this interaction. Hopefully, they start recording prior to the car being pulled over, so they can have some evidence of how the car was driving and not just the verbal testimony from the officer regarding the defendant’s driving. The officer will step out, come to the driver’s side, and ask some questions. Generally, if the officer smells alcohol or has a suspicion they were driving under the influence, they will either note the smell of alcohol or ask the individual if they have been drinking that night. If so, they will ask how much, where they were coming from, and where they were going to.

Sobriety Tests

There are three main field sobriety tests that an officer can use to determine a driver’s intoxication levels during Columbia DUI stops. The horizontal gaze nystagmus test checks the involuntary twitching of the driver’s eyeballs. There is a pen test in which a pen moves across someone’s face. An officer could use the walk-and-turn test, where someone quickly walks nine steps heel to toe, turns around, and walks nine steps back. The one-legged stand is when a driver stands on one leg for 20 or 30 seconds. Those are the standardized field sobriety tests.

Other non-standardized tests could include counting one’s backward, doing a finger test where they touch the thumb to the pad of their fingers and count while tilting their head back, telling the officer when 30 seconds had passed. Those are non-standardized field sobriety tests that officers use on a regular basis.

Contacting a Defense Attorney

A driver can always ask to speak with a lawyer during Columbia DUI stops. The caveat is that the police do not have to immediately assign the individual a lawyer or stop their investigation to get an attorney. Once someone asks for a lawyer, the police officer’s investigative questions should cease. The driver should also say that they do not want to answer any questions and they should be unequivocal in asking for a lawyer. Because they have invoked their right to counsel and their right against self-incrimination under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments of the United States Constitution, there should not be any more investigative questions asked. Consider reaching out to a skilled defense lawyer today to fight against your charges.