What are your rights during a DWI stop?

Driving while impaired may change your life forever. After all, not only may you have to deal with the legal consequences of your actions, but you may also have the sort of record that often makes it difficult to obtain or keep employment. 

If officers have reasonable suspicion you may be driving while impaired, they may stop your vehicle. You may also encounter a sobriety checkpoint or have to deal with officers after an alcohol-related crash. Regardless of how the  DWI stop occurs, you should know your rights during one. 

The right not to incriminate yourself

While you may want to be cooperative or affable during a DWI stop, you have the fundamental right not to incriminate yourself. Specifically, you do not have to tell the officer how much you have had to drink. You probably should not lie to an officer, however. 

The right to refuse a vehicle search

Even if you have nothing to hide, you do not have to consent to a search of your vehicle. If you allow an officer to look through your car, truck or SUV, he or she may find evidence to use against you. This may be true even if the evidence does not relate to the DWI stop. Consequently, if an officer asks for permission to search your vehicle, it may be best to decline.  

The right to refuse a field sobriety test

Field sobriety tests are notoriously inaccurate. Still, officers regularly use them to develop probable cause to support an arrest. While you may face consequences for refusing to take a field sobriety test, you are likely not under any obligation to take one.  

Motorists throughout New Hampshire often allow officers to gain a great deal of incriminating information during DWI stops. Ultimately, by asserting your rights, you may build the foundation for a successful defense.