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DUI Stops in Ocean City

The following is taken from an interview with an Ocean City DUI lawyer as they discuss how DUI stops are typically conducted and whether you have the right to refuse a search. For more information call and schedule a consultation today.

How DUI Stops Are Conducted

The Ocean City Police Department will conduct traffic stops for traffic violations and for anyone that they suspect is driving under the influence of alcohol. They will stop the vehicle and make contact with the driver and the police officer may then ask the driver to perform standardized field sobriety tests. They can also ask the driver if they would be willing to take a preliminary breath test, which is a breath test that is not admissible in court, but is a tool that an officer can use to determine on the roadside what the person’s blood alcohol level is and can help them decide whether or not to make an arrest for drunk driving.

Based on the results of the field sobriety tests, and potentially on the result of the preliminary breath test, the officer can then arrest the person for driving under the influence and transport the driver to the Ocean City Police Department to be processed. The officer can then make the determination to release the driver to another individual who is sober or, the officer can decide to have the driver appear in front of a district court commissioner potentially requiring that the driver sit in jail or have to post a bond in order to be released.

Vehicle Searches During DUI Stops

You do not need to consent to a search and in fact, a driver has the absolute right to refuse to consent to a search of their vehicle.

Vehicle Searches After a DUI Arrest

After you have been arrested, you still have the absolute right to refuse to consent to a search of your vehicle. What that means then is that in order for an officer to search your vehicle, the officer is going to have to establish some other legal basis to be able to search the car, so the officer would have to explain why he felt it was necessary to search the car.
The officer may be able to do that by articulating some other facts that would establish a basis to search the car, but there is not this automatic right of an officer to search the car based solely on the fact that the driver was arrested for a DUI.

Breath Tests After a DUI Stop

The driver can expect that they will be asked to take a breath test, the result of which can be used against the driver in court as evidence  of whether or not they were under the influence.
They should also expect that they could be arrested and either released to another individual, a sober individual if they can contact one and have that person come to the police department to pick them up. However, they also need to expect that it’s possible that they could be arrested and have to appear in front of a district court commissioner and that commissioner will determine whether or not the person could be released on their own recognizance or if the person needs to post a bond in order to be released.
The driver can also expect that there would be consequences to the breath test result depending on what the result is. It could be very damaging evidence against them at trial, but they also would have to understand that if they refuse to take the test there are very serious consequences at the MVA when a driver refuses to take the breath test.
The driver would need to be prepared for the fact that they will have to perhaps deal with the MVA consequences of being charged with a DUI and expect that they will have to return to either Ocean City or Snow Hill in order to go to court to appear in court and resolve the matter of.