DUI Consent to Police

Consent to Police

Being investigated by a police officer is a very intimidating situation. This is true whether you are a suspect or completely innocent of a crime. One of the most usual stories we hear from clients involves consent to police searches and questioning. What is even more amazing is how often people think they didn't have a right to refuse the officer. Most times, the situation involves a traffic stop or investigation of some other crime taking place. The officer walks up to a person and asks for permission to ask some questions or search the car. Can you say no? YES - always. Here's an example:
  • You are involved in a traffic crash
  • No one is hurt and the damage to the car is not major
  • The cop does an accident investigation taking down pertinent information
  • After taking the information about the crash, the cop tells you that he is now conducting a criminal investigation and reads you Miranda warnings
  • You appear very confused but don't smell like alcohol
It would appear that the cop is doing everything right so far. But at this point, he asks you to voluntarily consent to a blood draw to see if you are DUI based on drugs. Can you refuse? The answer is flat out Yes! However, if you do consent, your blood test results are probably going to be admissible in evidence. Why? Because once the police officer has a legal reason to detain you, he can ask for consent. What if you didn't mean to give him two hours of your time to get a blood test? Then you should tell him that and withdraw your consent which will be perfectly legal. You see, police can always come up to you and ask for consent to talk and you can walk away. If they have something called "reasonable suspicion of a crime" they can detain you until they determine if something illegal is really taking place. If you're in a car, normally the police cannot detain you any longer than is necessary to issue a traffic ticket. However, if they develop reasonable suspicion of a crime (like DUI) while giving the ticket, they can detain you longer. How long is a question based on the circumstances of the case. There is no hard and fast rule as long as police act diligently under the circumstances presented. The same rules apply to a request to search you or your car. One thing is for sure, if you are detained legally and they ask for consent - as long as it is voluntary they can search.
Categories: DUI