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An accident can be reasonable suspicion for a DUI

To give you blood alcohol tests and see if you have been drinking, the police need to have reasonable suspicion that you may be under the influence. You need to be aware that being involved in just about any accident can meet this criteria. While most drivers will not be tested just because they were in a wreck, the police could use it to justify the testing.

This is perhaps most important to note for accidents that were not your own fault. If the someone else runs a red light and hits you, but the police then think you seem like you've been drinking, they may test you. It does not necessarily matter that you did not cause the accident, and you can't get out of the test on those grounds alone.

You can refuse the tests, of course, but you then face a different set of penalties for the refusal.

As noted, most drivers are not tested, but the police typically look for other signs at the accident site. This could include the smell of alcohol, the presence of empty cans or bottle in the car or simply the way you're acting. Your actions may be odd due to having just been involved in the crash, of course, but they could still spur a larger investigation to see if you were also drinking.

If needed, the police are allowed to detain you on a temporary basis while doing this investigation.

Those who have been detained or arrested on suspicion of a DUI must know all of the legal options they have.

Source: FIndLaw, "Drunk Driving Accidents," accessed June 22, 2015

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