Remember your rights if you are pulled over this weekend
According to studies, Super Bowl Sunday can be a dangerous time to be on the road. This is because the number of car accidents increase sharply in the hours following the biggest sports event of the year. In fact, one study suggests that accidents rise more than 40 percent during this time.
Some of these accidents are caused by drivers who are tired, distracted or wound up from the game, but there are also accidents caused by drivers who are intoxicated. In an effort to prevent these accidents, law enforcement officers often focus their resources on pulling over and arresting drivers suspected of being drunk. This means that more people may be pulled over this weekend, so it is crucial to remember that drivers have rights that must be protected during a traffic stop.
To begin with, police officers need to have probable cause to pull a driver over. This means that they cannot stop a driver for no reason. If there is reason to believe an officer fabricated probable cause, it can be possible to challenge whatever happened after the unlawful stop and have any resulting charges dismissed.
As we have mentioned in a previous blog post, Maryland drivers do have the right the refuse preliminary alcohol screenings including field sobriety tests and roadside breath tests. However, while there may be no criminal consequences for refusing, there may be administrative penalties including license suspension.
Remembering that motorists have rights and protections from being unlawfully pulled over and charged with DUI this weekend can be crucial. In any situation when officers make a traffic stop, especially during times of increased enforcement, it can be essential for drivers to try and stay calm, comply with police requests or politely decline to answer questions until speaking with a lawyer.