Regardless of the circumstances, being pulled over by a police officer is a nerve-wracking experience. When an individual is subsequently asked to exit his or her vehicle and submit to field sobriety tests and a breath test or blood test, the situation quickly escalates. If faced with this scenario, it's important to pay close attention to what a police officer says and does and also to understand one's legal rights.
We've previously discussed in blog posts how North Carolina has some of the toughest drunk driving laws of any state. However, if two bills that were recently introduced by North Carolina House Democrat Rep. Darren Jackson become law, the penalties for some individuals convicted of DWI/DUI will be even more punitive.
Any driver who is pulled over by a police officer and subsequently asked to exit his or her vehicle and complete a series of field sobriety tests is, with good reason, likely to be terrified. This is especially true in cases involving young and inexperienced drivers.
As we discussed in our last blog, a police officer who pulls a driver over must have reasonable suspicion to believe that a driver has committed a crime. In cases where this requirement isn't met, a defense attorney will fight to get any criminal charges that may follow as a result of the traffic stop dismissed. However, according to a recent ruling by the North Carolina Court of Appeals, evidence collected in an unconstitutional traffic stop may still be used as justification to revoke an individual's driver's license in an Administrative Hearing at NCDMV.