No one ever anticipates finding him or herself under investigation for a DUI-related accident, but unfortunately many drivers do find themselves in this situation. Involvement in any DUI-related charge or accident can be complicated and drawn out, so it is vital that you know your rights and take steps to ensure the best possible outcome for yourself.
Ensure Safety and Contact Police
As is the case with any automobile accident, it is important to first ensure that everyone involved in the accident is unharmed and free of any critical or life threatening injuries. Should someone need immediate medical attention, call 911 immediately.
Do Not Say or Do Anything Incriminating
The next step will involve reporting the accident to police, which is legally required in many states, as well as any sort of insurance claim. Be polite and courteous to law enforcement officers during the course of the incident, but know that you have the right to refrain from answering any and all questions asked. The same goes for any interaction with the other party involved in the accident. Even saying something seemingly innocent, like “I’m sorry,” could be taken and used against you as proof that you were the one responsible for the accident.
Field Sobriety and Chemical Tests
As the police investigate the accident, it is quite possible that they may ask you to partake in a field sobriety or chemical test in order to ensure that your blood alcohol content is within the legal limits. Be aware of the fact that you also have the right to withhold from taking any sort of field sobriety or chemical test, although this may come with other penalties depending on the individual state’s laws.
You may also be asked to consent to a vehicle search, which you have the right to deny. In order to legally search your vehicle, police need probably cause to believe that you have something illegal within your vehicle, otherwise they will be required to obtain a search warrant in order to do so. However, this rule does not apply to objects within plain sight, which do not require a warrant.
Being involved in a DUI-related accident is serious and can have long lasting consequences. According to Druyon Law, your most important right is the right to obtain an experienced defense attorney who will be able to guide you through the investigation process, while looking out for your best interests.