Should the Police Stop You, Know Your Legal Rights…
Most Americans, don't know their legal rights, particularly when a roadside (traffic) “stop” or arrest is involved. In fact, there are a lot of misconceptions about legal rights. Here are just a few:
- Most people believe that they are guaranteed the right to call an attorney for advice. WRONG.
- Most people believe that they can talk the officer into letting them go. NOT ANY MORE.
- Many people believe that by cooperating with the officer in doing roadside tests they will be able to convince the police not to arrest them. NOT SO, IF YOU ARE A DUI SUSPECT.
- From watching TV police stories, many people erroneously believe that police can automatically search your vehicle. NOT WITHOUT YOUR PERMISSION, unless the officer has reasonable cause to believe that a crime in being committed or is about to be committed.
The tri-fold “DRIVER'S RIGHTS” card was designed by Attorney V.W. Carmody, of Jackson in order to assist Mississippi drivers in asserting their Constitutional and statutory rights, to the maximum extent permitted by law. ANY TIME YOU ARE STOPPED BY A POLICE OFFICER, AND QUESTIONING GOES BEYOND THE MINIMUM INFORMATION NEEDED TO ISSUE A TRAFFIC CITATION, YOU SHOULD CONSIDER HANDING THE CARD TO THE OFFICER AND REMAIN SILENT. Let the card speak for you. Don't read it to the officer. These cards won't prevent a drunk driver from being caught, if sufficient VISIBLE proof of impairment exists (staggering, belligerence, glazed eyes, etc.), so don't expect the card to solve all problems.
NOTICE TO OFFICER AT ROADSIDE STOP
As required by Mississippi law, I am herewith tendering my driver's license. The license is in proper order and I have committed no crime or traffic violation. I therefore request that my license be returned to me and that I be permitted to leave immediately. If you have any doubt about my ability to operate my vehicle, I will be glad to leave my car here and have a cab pick me up. Unless you return these items to me and advise me that I can leave with my license and in my vehicle, I must assume this is more than a brief investigatory stop, that my liberty is restrained, that I am under arrest, and that I must obey your orders without resistance, but I do so under protest.
I do not wish to answer any questions or make any statements at this time. I am exercising my right to remain silent and to not give evidence against myself. (U.S. Const., 5th Amendment, Mississippi Constitution).
I request that my attorney be present during any questioning or proceedings against me and that I be permitted to contact my attorney at the earliest possible time, as permitted by Mississippi and Federal law. I have the name and phone number with me at this time and would like to call immediately.
Mississippi law does not require me to submit to any verbal or non-verbal field sobriety tests including reciting the alphabet, the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the Alco-sensor (hand-held breath testing device), walk-and-turn, one leg stand or other such tests. I, therefore, choose not to participate in any such so-called field sobriety tests, unless my attorney is present when such voluntary tests are performed. If you ignore my Constitutional and statutory rights under this card and verbally coerce me into taking any such tests, I am not performing any such tests willfully and voluntarily, but am doing so to avoid a confrontation with you, an armed law enforcement officer.
In compliance with the requirements of Mississippi Implied Consent Law, I will consent to submit to tests of my breath, urine, blood, or other bodily substances which you may designate, provided the test I am offered is properly done and has been properly approved by the Mississippi State Crime Lab and the Mississippi State Highway Safety Patrol; however, since I maintain that you do not have reasonable or legally sufficient cause to make this request for a chemical sobriety test, my consent is given under protest and is in no way voluntary. Furthermore, I do not waive any deficiencies in the advisement you are giving me, or in the procedures that you follow. Any consent by me to take a chemical sobriety test is given only for testing devices which are properly approved and where all pre-testing protocol and waiting periods are observed. Otherwise, my consent is NOT voluntarily given.
I request that I be provided (Miss. Code, Ann. Section 63-11-15, 1972) with full information concerning your test including a written copy of any reports on the results of your test. If it is used, I wish to view any digital or numerical readout on the breath machine, pursuant to my Constitutional rights to confront witnesses and evidence against me. I also desire to have an independent analysis made of any chemical test taken by the State of my blood, breath, or urine, and hereby demand that a sufficient sample be collected and properly sealed, refrigerated or preserved to permit re-analysis to be accomplished at a later date.
If, after the administration of your test, you decide to charge me with any DUI offense under Mississippi Code, Section 63-11-30, then I request that I thereupon be transported to the nearest available private medical facility which will conduct independent testing. If feasible, I will select and utilize my own physician or medical provider to administer my independent test(s). I will make my own financial arrangements upon arrival at the selected facility, will select the type of test I want, and I specifically request immediate access to a phone and phone directory to do this. This request should also not be considered to be withdrawn or waived even if I take one or more additional breath tests.
In the event you suspend my driver's license pursuant to Mississippi Code, Section, 63-11-21, 23, and 25, then I hereby request that I be afforded a hearing to review the propriety of the proposed administrative suspension. This request should be forwarded by you immediately to the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol, Driver Improvement Branch, P.O. Box 958, Jackson, MS 39205.
I object (and do not consent) to a search of my person, my motor vehicle, or any of my other property, unless I give you written authority to search my vehicle (for “inventory” or any other purpose) and arrange for impound of my vehicle.
I also do not consent to being videotaped or audio taped at any time without my written consent, as such unauthorized taping would constitute a violation of my right of privacy under the Mississippi Constitution and the U.S. Constitution.
This document constitutes an official notification which should be retained for your records.
NOTICE AND DISCLAIMER
This card shown below is intended to help educate member of the Mississippi motoring public as to their rights under the law and to assist presumptively innocent citizens in properly asserting those rights. It is not intended to aid drunk drivers in evading punishment. The card should be given immediately to the law enforcement officer in the event (a) you are pulled over for any reason, (b) if you are stopped and detained at a roadblock, or (c) you are involved in any type of accident, and questions about alcohol consumption are asked. It will assist the officer in correctly determining how you wish to be treated under the law. No further communication with the officer will be necessary. READ THE “NOTICE TO OFFICER AT ROADSIDE STOP” ON THE REMAINDER OF THIS CARD CAREFULLY AND KNOW YOUR RIGHTS BEFORE ANY CUSTODIAL SITUATION ARISES. Use of this “Notice to Officer at Roadside Stop” may not be appropriate for certain drivers, including, but not limited to: (1) persons who are licensed to drive by another state; (2) persons who have been involved in a collision, especially if serious injury or a death has occurred; (3) persons who have been convicted of two or more prior DUI offenses or other serious driving offenses for which the arrest occurred within the past five years; (4) persons who may have any illegal substance or non-prescribed medication in their system. (NOTE: Modern testing methods for blood or urine can detect substances for weeks after ingestion. Test results may be used to charge you with additional crimes); (5) under-age persons who, by virtue of admitting any alcohol consumption or giving any test result, maybe subject to conviction and punishment for another crime, or (6) persons holding a CDL license who are stopped while driving a commercial motor vehicle and where questions about alcohol consumption are asked. For these drivers, a refusal may be more beneficial than the consequences which may result from an unfavorable test result. If you do decide to refuse, obtaining permission to contact an attorney immediately is critical to your case. An attorney may advise you to take the test, and you may have only a few minutes after the time of refusal to change your mind.
* How to use Drivers Rights and Disclaimer Courtesy of William “Bubba” Head.