The following information is intended as a brief summation of your Constitutional rights and is meant to offer helpful hints at how to effectively assert and protect those rights within the context of a police encounter. This information is not legal advice and is not a substitute for a consultation with an experienced attorney.
If you are arrested or charged with a DUI or related criminal traffic offense in Washington State you have many rights. The following rights have been put together to help you understand what your rights are.
1. You have a right to decline to answer any questions. You may be required to identify yourself but you are not required to make statements or answer questions. You should remember that whatever you say to the officer will likely be used against you if charges are filed.
2. Field sobriety tests are VOLUNTARY and you have a right to decline. You also have the right to decline to take a portable or preliminary breath test at the roadside.
3. You have a right to refuse to consent to any search of your person, property, or vehicle. However, the police may search you or your vehicle without a warrant in the following circumstances:
- After a lawful arrest police may search you, and if you were in a vehicle immediately prior to your arrest, the police may search your vehicle.
- Police may search you for weapons if they have a reasonable suspicion you are armed and dangerous.
- Police may search the area immediately around you.
- In certain emergency situations, the police may search if they have probable cause to believe evidence will be found, but it would be destroyed before a warrant could be obtained.
- Police may search your vehicle if they are placing it in impound.
4. You have a right to speak with an attorney before making any decision about a breath or blood test. The police must advise you of that right as soon as practical after you are arrested. In addition, before you decide to take a breath test, the police must provide you with an opportunity to talk to a lawyer. In most cases, you can be put immediately in touch with an on-call attorney at no cost to you, no matter what the time.
5. After being taken into custody, you have the right to an additional breath test performed by a qualified person of your choosing. If you obtain a second test, immediately after your release from custody, this test may be used to challenge the accuracy of the test administered by the police.
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