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Being pulled over by the police is rarely a pleasant experience. However, for people who may have been consuming alcohol or drugs prior to driving, a DUI traffic stop can be a terrifying ordeal and you'll likely need a DUI lawyer. In this situation, a driver should avoid saying the following:
1. “I am impaired / I am feeling buzzed”
Admitting to being under the influence of drugs or alcohol may be a very honest statement; however drivers in DUI stops do not get points for honesty. Making an admission of this nature is never advisable and will almost certainly provide grounds for the officer to arrest the driver. These admissions could be used against the driver during his or her court case and DMV administrative hearing.
2. “I’ve been drinking tonight”
If an officer suspects that a driver may be under the influence, that officer will typically ask whether or not the driver has been drinking, and if so how much alcohol they have consumed. If the driver admits to consuming alcohol, the officer will use this admission as grounds for expanding the DUI investigation and ultimately arresting the driver. These admissions could also be used against the driver in the subsequent court case and DMV administrative action. If the driver lies and denies drinking anything, this reflects poorly on the defendant when a prosecutor, judge or jury considers this statement in comparison to positive test results obtained later on. A driver is under no obligation to answer this question and can politely decline by stating “I have nothing to say to that.”
3. “I have a DUI conviction in another state / I don’t have a license”
DUI investigations are often conducted very quickly and officers may not have time to perform a full background check on drivers they arrest. Drivers should never volunteer information regarding prior DUIs (especially if they occurred in another state) or restrictions they may have on their driving privileges. Police and prosecutors may ultimately overlook these things.
4. “My taxes pay your salary”
It is critical to be polite and respectful to the officer during the traffic stop. In many cases, people pulled over will become angry and may make rude or disrespectful comments to the officer. This typically does not turn out well for the driver. Ultimately, it is the officer’s decision whether a DUI offense has occurred and it is not advisable to say anything that may aggravate the officer. While a driver can certainly assert his or her legal rights during the stop and interrogation, it is always best to remain polite during any exchange with police.
5. Say as Little As Possible
Anyone stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence should say as little as possible. There may be a tendency to get nervous and become talkative, but this can often result in the driver making admissions to drinking or impairment. In addition, the officer is trying to detect if there is any smell of alcohol on the driver’s breath and therefore it may be best to keep one’s mouth closed to the greatest extent possible.