The DUI Stop: What Should You Say?

by gclatworthy on July 19, 2012

(US Criminal Law) If you’re stopped for a suspected DUI, you will want to pull over and let the officer come to your vehicle. However, it’s not so much what you should say to the officer—the question is more about what you should not say. The following relates to US law and general.

Different attorneys have their own ideas of how to handle a DUI stop. Nevertheless, many attorneys will give you similar strategies, which are discussed herein. Most will have their own suggestions about how to handle the DUI stop, so you should consult a DUI attorney for their advice.

Speaking When Spoken To…

Attorneys generally advise their clients not to say anything. First, pull off the road where you can safely do so. Let the police officer approach your car. You must pretend you have no idea why he stopped you in the first place. He may have just stopped you for a headlight that is out!

Don’t make the officer’s case for him. He’s trying to get evidence against you. Let him come to you and let him ask what he needs to. But that doesn’t mean you answer him. One San Bernadino DUI attorney advises ‘restraint is the key here. Do not speak if at all possible except to ask for your attorney if he raises the subject of alcohol.’

If he asks you if you know why you were stopped, you are usually advised to say no, you have no idea why you are stopped. A simple “no” is sufficient. If he asks if you have been drinking, the general rule of thumb is not to say anything except to ask for your attorney. The more you talk to the officer, the more he has a chance to listen for any slurring of words, to smell for alcohol on your breath, and to see how you are acting. You do not have to talk to the officer. The more you do, the more you make his case. Ask for your attorney and stop there.

Handling Field Sobriety Tests…

If he orders you out of the car, still ask to speak with your attorney. Depending on the State in which you are stopped, you do not have to take the field sobriety tests. They are optional and if you have been drinking then you should not take them. If you are stopped in California for instance, then consult with a San Bernadino criminal defense lawyer, who will give you advice about how to handle the stop. But under no circumstances should you take the tests. You should never admit that you have been drinking nor should you deny it. Just say you want to speak with your lawyer.

Also never indicate where you’re coming from. Do not say anything about it. The officer would love to hear that you are coming from a party or a bar, so don’t say a word. You will end up putting your foot in your mouth if you do.

Make sure to give the officer your license and registration when he asks you to do so. Do not say anything while giving him the documents. Learn that in a stop where you think a DUI is going to be in issue, saying nothing is the best practice.

About the author
Georgina Clatworthy has been a legal writer since 2010 providing articles, web copy and blog posts. She is now a contributing writer for the legal professionals at Milligan, Beswick, Levine and Knox who have many years experience in handling DUI cases.

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