When The Officer Contacts You and You’ve Been Drinking
The first and most important thing to understand is that it is not always illegal to drink and drive. That’s why bars have parking spots outside of them – it is perfectly legal to have a drink then go outside and get behind the wheel, so long as you are not under the influence to the extent that you are impaired. How much you drink, the time frame in which you drank it, physical factors such as age, height and weight, as well as any medications, will all determine how much is too much for each individual person.
That does not, however, mean that the cop that pulls you over will be understanding or reasonable. A lot of people mistakenly believe that if they admit they had a couple drinks, then the officer will appreciate the honesty and give them a break. That’s not always the case, and how do you know if you are going to be so lucky? You have a constitutional right against self incrimination under the 5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. So the best thing to do if you are asked if you have been drinking is to exercise that right, and just remain silent.
DUI Is A Crime: You have rights
Remember that anything you say can, and will, be used against you. Why would you want to help the police and the prosecutors arrest and charge you with DUI?? The less you say, the better off you’ll be. You will get yourself into more trouble by giving the wrong answer to a question. Also, you are being evaluated not only on what you say, but also on how you say it. The less dialog there is, the less chance he has to say you were slurring your words or mumbling your speech.
In fact, even if you haven’t been drinking you still should never say anything to a police officer that is incriminating. If you get pulled over for speeding or running a red light, never tell the officer you were unaware of the speed limit or that you are new to the area and unfamiliar with the roads. Never answer the question “do you know why I pulled you over” – just sit there and remain silent. Anything you answer will give the officer ammunition against you, and it’s a catch 22, because if you say no, he will claim you weren’t paying attention and if you say yes, you are admitting guilt and giving him more things to cite you for.
When Under Investigation for Drunk Driving, Take Your Rights Seriously
So remember, when an officer pulls you over and asks you anything, especially if you have been drinking, do not answer. Do not admit that you have been drinking, even if it was just a couple drinks. But don’t lie either, or be rude. Just say nothing. You should, however, comply with the officer’s other requests. If he asks you for your license and registration, hand it over. If he asks you to step out of your car, do it. If he asks you to submit to roadside exercises or a chemical breath, blood, or urine test, politely decline if your jurisdiction permits refusals. Finally, once you are read your Miranda Rights (“you have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you…”) ask immediately to speak with an attorney.