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New Haven DUI Stop

At the police academy, New Haven law enforcement officers are trained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in what to look out for regarding DUI charges. These officers will be given a manual that contains a list of all the motor vehicle infractions that could potentially indicate a DUI, that includes almost every infraction except for speeding. If an officer sees any of these infractions taking place they may then pull over the driver and begin a DUI investigation, if they believe the driver to be under the influence. With this in mind, it is important if you are accused you know what to expect and consult with an experienced New Haven DUI attorney as soon as possible to begin mitigating the damage and building a defense.

The Initial Stop

The typical DUI stop begins with the officer pulling a driver over to the side of the road. Once pulled over, the officer will approach the window of the driver ask for the driver’s license and registration and immediately begin taking note of whether or not the individual seems to be intoxicated. In order to make this determination the officer will be looking at a variety of factors including red or bloodshot eyes, alcoholic breath, or any smell of alcohol in vehicle.

If the offer suspects that the individual is impaired then the driver will be asked to step out of the vehicle, likely to take a roadside field sobriety test (FST). The driver is allowed to refuse FSTs, although the officer will most likely not inform them of this right. If the driver does decide to take any FSTs, they should be aware that field sobriety tests are designed for failure and that even sober people will take them and fail at times.

If a person take the field tests and fails them, they will likely be placed under arrest and administered a roadside Breathalyzer test that can also be refused. Once this has all taken place the driver, if placed under arrest, will be transported to the police station.

Vehicle Search

During the process of a DUI stop the officer will sometimes ask to search a vehicle if they suspect there are drugs within. For example, if they smell marijuana they can do an inventory search, where the car is towed and they are allowed to inventory the vehicle. Other times if they suspect drugs, they will bring a K9 dog on the scene which will sniff around the vehicle. Generally speaking, if a person is arrested, their car will be searched.

With that said, if a car is searched before an individual is arrested then they must consent to a search before it can be conducted. Otherwise, it is only after an individual is arrested that law enforcement can get in the car without an individual’s consent under a simple inventory search. It is also important to keep in mind that DUIs are towable offenses, meaning they can tow the car.

Consenting to Search at a Traffic Stop

The search of a motor vehicle during a traffic stop is a highly complex legal issue that depends on numerous facts and circumstances associated with the stop in a subsequent arrest of an individual. However, it is very difficult to win a suppression hearing in this type of situation, because the state attorney will very often claim it was an “inevitable discovery.”

Under those circumstances, it has often been held that even though the police did not have a valid search warrant, the search is acceptable, because they inevitably would have found this evidence.

It is very difficult to win a suppression motion based on an illegal search of a car, because the police have so many ways around a search warrant. That being said, it is very important that if there are legal challenges to the search of a vehicle that they be pursued and properly challenged at a suppression hearing, and that it is something a person can use to challenge the state’s case and try to obtain a better plea deal or a better outcome in that particular case.

At the Station

Once driven to the police station, an individual charged will be read something known as the implied consent advisory. That advisory basically advises a person that if they refuse the test, they will be facing a harsher penalty than if they take the test. The reason it is called an implied consent advisory is because by getting a Connecticut license and signing it, a driver is signing a contract with the state of Connecticut. That contract says an individual is providing consent to take one alcohol test, whether breath, urine, or blood. Additionally, the consent is implied any time an officer asks the driver to take an alcohol test.

After they read the advisory, an individual makes their decision. By case law the maximum amount of time a police officer has to give an individual is about 10 minutes. They will allow the individual to make phone calls, as law enforcement must give an individual the opportunity to call a lawyer about the Breathalyzer, or other BAC test.

If one chooses to take the test, it will takes 20 to 30 minutes and then they will be released along with a court date. If one chooses not to take the test, their release will be a little bit faster but will face a stiffer penalty and license suspension.

Speaking to a Lawyer During a DUI Stop

An individual can make a request to speak with a lawyer during the initial interactions with the police, but that rarely happens. Typically what will happen is once the individual is brought back to the police station, the police officers will advise the individual before taking a breath test or any other chemical test that they have the right to speak with a lawyer and they are afforded that opportunity.

It does not often happen that someone during the initial stop, while they are on the side of the road, will speak to a lawyer. They can, but more often than not, people do not make that request until they are at the police station and advised of their ability to do so.