Virginia DUI convictions are risked even with your silence & inaction
Virginia DUI convictions are risked even when the suspect is silent and declines roadside testing, says Fairfax DWI lawyer
Virginia DUI convictions are risked even when a DWI suspect declines to answer police questions, refuses law enforcement requests for field sobriety testing, and passes on the cop’s offer to blow pretrial into a preliminary breath test (PBT) alcohol-testing machine. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I know that because such risks exist, Virginia DUI suspects can make convictions all the more possible by opening their mouths with police and by doing the field testing they request. Consequently, if you are going to get behind the wheel after consuming beer, wine or alcohol / liquor, the more that you interact non-negatively and non-emotionally with the police, the better. Police are already processing the data from your non-verbal actions. To waiver your right to remain silent and to refuse field testing (even though refusing field testing is permitted to be considered against you) adds to that data fund that increases the chances the the investigating police officers will simply misintepret and mis-remember that information by the time they write their police report (often without the aid of watching any incident video), often writing that report long after handcuffing you.
How do I avoid Virginia DUI convictions beyond remaining silent and refusing field testing?
The best way to avoid DWI arrests and Virginia DUI convictions is not to drive within 24 hours of consuming beer, wine or alcohol. Short of that, be aware of the following things the police look for any time they stop a driver for an alleged moving violation (for instance speeding, following cars too closely, and weaving in and out of one’s lane): alcohol odor on breath; bloodshot and/or glass eyes; slurred or otherwise unusual speech; unkempt clothes; undone zipper; vomit; signs of urinating in one’s pants; exiting the vehicle unsteadily; holding onto the vehicle or other objects after leaving the vehicle; acting zoned out or like a space cadet; having sealed or unsealed alcohol containers visible in the car; crying; and having passengers who are willing to tell about your drinking behavior. You cannot solve all of the foregoing if you have driven after drinking alcohol, beer or wine. However, you can do such things as avoiding speaking other than clearly stating if you decline to answer questions; avoiding driving a car you are unfamiliar handling; having your driver’s license and car registration in a convenient place so you are not fumbling to find and produce them when the police tells you to; avoiding driving routes you are not familiar with; making sure your clothing is neat and orderly (and that you have a sturdy pair of matching shoes on your feet; not continuing to drive nor be in the car after vomiting or urinating on yourself (and urinating before getting into the car); avoiding driving with passengers; not disputing police direction to get out of your car; getting out of your car carefully; avoiding holding onto anything you do not have to once out of the car; and making clear that you decline to answer any police questions (if you take that approach) rather than being characterized as acting like a zombie when asked questions.
How do I best tell police that I decline speaking, refuse field tests, refuse searches, and will not take the pre-arrest preliminary breath test?
You have no obligation to do any of the above three things in Virginia, short of any obligation to identify yourself, which can be accomplished by showing your driver’s license. Asserting your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent with police is as easy as stating “I am not answering any questions” and/or “I want a lawyer”. Refusing field tests can be similar: “I decline field testing.” Refusing searches (which can turn up contraband or other incriminating evidence that you may not even know is present) is as simple as: “I refuse searches.” Declining the pre-arrest preliminary breath test (PBT) is as easy as: “I decline the pre-arrest breath test.” (Note: Virginia law mandates taking post-arrest breath and blood testing when directed to or requested by the police). Make sure you do not engage in any physical resistance with the police. For instance, do not physically interfere with searches nor efforts to arrest you. Never walk away from nor drive away from police without clear verbal permission from the police, for instance after you ask: “Am I free to leave, officer?” Avoid Virginia DUI convictions by not getting behind the wheel after drinking, and by taking the foregoing precautions if you do.
What should I do if arrested for alleged Virginia DUI?
If arrested for alleged Virginia DUI, obtain the right lawyer for you. Fairfax DUI lawyer Jonathan Katz has successfully defended hundreds of Virginia DWI defendants for years, on top of having successfully defended thousands of criminal defendants overall. Call 703-383-1100 for your free in-person consultation with Jon Katz about your court-pending case. Help avoid Virginia DUI convictions by obtaining a great attorney to fight for you in court.