You consider yourself a very responsible person. Even when you get together with friends after work for a drink or two, you know your limits and are careful not to exceed them, especially when you plan to drive yourself home. So, what happens when police pull you over? Perhaps you drifted a little too close to the center line of traffic or you didn’t realize one of your tail lights is out.
Whatever the Colorado officer’s initial reason for stopping you might be, if he or she starts asking questions about alcohol, you have some decision-making to do.
Should you admit you were drinking?
Having a clear understanding of the law regarding drinking and driving, as well as knowing your constitutional rights, helps you make informed decisions on the spot when a potentially troubling situation arises. Keeping the following in mind might help:
- Beyond answering questions regarding your name and address or showing proof of valid vehicle registration, your Fifth Amendment rights protect you from having to speak without legal representation present. If you invoke your right to remain silent, you may do so.
- It is typically never ever a good idea to lie to a police officer who has pulled you over in a traffic stop. Most times, this type of situation has a way of snowballing, meaning you just might wind up in a worse situation than the one in which you started if authorities learn of your deceit.
- It is very true that police can use anything you say or do during a traffic stop to incriminate you if they file charges against you. This means if you answer “yes” when an officer asks if you consumed any alcohol before driving, it counts as self-incrimination if they charge you with drunk driving.
If you know you only had a beer or a couple drinks, you might be thinking that it’s better just to go ahead and admit that, since you know your blood alcohol level would test well within the legal limit. However, it’s important to note that your blood alcohol level does not necessarily need to exceed the legal limit in order for you to be criminally charged for DUI.
If an officer claims to have probable cause to suspect you of drunk driving (you smelled like booze, you stumbled when you stepped out of the car, your tire drifted over the yellow line, etc.), that’s all that is needed to file formal charges against you.
Whether you choose to remain silent or to tell the truth about the couple of drinks you had earlier in the evening is entirely up to you. Either way, if you wind up facing charges, you’ll have the opportunity to present a defense in court. Avoiding conviction often hinges on the type of defense you choose; the best outcomes are usually those that include skilled representation from experienced defense attorneys.