Getting pulled over by the police is distressing for anyone, even those born and raised in America. For immigrants, who may feel more vulnerable in police stops, the experience can be downright frightening.
A top goal for most immigrants is to do nothing to complicate their presence or lead to deportation. California DUI convictions do not typically result in deportation, but they might impact the status of immigrants. Knowing your rights can protect you during encounters with the police and may even strengthen your defense if you’re arrested and charged.
DUI stop rights
It’s important to know that you have the same right to due process as American citizens. That means the police cannot detain or arrest you on DUI charges without establishing probable cause of intoxication.
Examples of your rights during police encounters:
- To remain silent: You may politely decline to answer police officer questions.
- To refuse consent: You may refuse to permit officers to search you and your vehicle (although they may do so anyway).
- To leave: You may leave peacefully if the police do not arrest you.
- To have a translator: You may request language translation services during encounters to help you understand what is being said and done.
If the encounter results in a DUI arrest, you have the right to legal counsel and should limit your communications with law enforcement until you speak with your representative.
How can this information help your defense?
Police officers are human, just like everyone else. That means they can make mistakes that harm your rights or perhaps even violate them on purpose. When you understand your rights, you can more easily determine if the officers violated them during your traffic stop or arrest. If they did, you can explore the possibility of basing your defense on police violations.