Rights against Self-Incrimination in a DUI Case
By: Mike Stetzer
If you have recently had a DUI arrest and been charged with drinking and driving, there is a possibility you could be going to DUI court to plead your case. After consulting with your DUI attorney, you may have chosen to challenge your DUI charge or have a jury determine whether you are guilty or not of the charges brought against you.
How the Fifth Amendment Protects You from DUI Self-Incrimination?
Under the Fifth Amendment, you are given the right to decline answering questions or making statements, if what you are saying would help the police to establish that you committed a DUI crime. The privilege to protect you against self-incrimination is referred to as "pleading the fifth" - the popular phrase you have probably heard on numerous law enforcement shows.
Self-Incriminating Blood Tests
During you DUI arrest, you may have been asked to submit to a blood test. You have the right to ask that you physicians administer the test to determine your blood alcohol content, but you may also have the right to refuse giving a blood sample. Note that in some states, refusing to submit to a breath test or a blood test may result in automatic penalties, like a suspension of your driver's license.
When it comes to participating in a blood alcohol content test, your rights depend on the state DUI laws. A DUI lawyer can further explain to you when you do and do not have to submit to a blood sample and whether your rights were violated when and if you did.
Self-Incrimination during your DUI Trial
In DUI court, the Fifth Amendment protects you from testifying at your own trial if you do not want to. This also means, that if you refuse to testify during your DUI trial, the jury is not allowed to consider your refusal while deliberating if you are guilty.
If you do choose to testify during your trial, your Fifth Amendment privilege is considered to have been waived because you are taking the stand, and you cannot pick and choose what questions you want to answer.
A DUI Lawyer Can Make Sure Your Fifth Amendment Rights Are Protected
If you are going to go to court over you DUI charge, it is a good idea to have an attorney at your side. A DUI lawyer can advise you on whether your rights have been violated and how you can proceed from here.
Total DUI can help you find a practicing attorney in your area - simply fill our free DUI case evaluation or call 877-349-1311, and we'll place you with a local DUI lawyer from our nationwide network of sponsoring DUI attorneys as soon as possible.