What to Say — and Not Say — During a DUI Traffic Stop
What You Should Do If You’re Stopped For DUI
If you are pulled over for a DUI traffic stop, you only have a few minutes to gather your thoughts and control whatever you can, such as being polite and — above all — not saying anything to incriminate yourself. These are just some of the things you should and should not say if you are stopped for driving while impaired.
What Should I Say During a DUI Traffic Stop?
Obviously, you will be scared and extremely nervous, but you have to get yourself together and realize the next few minutes will have a profound impact on your case. Here are a few examples of what to say if you are pulled over:
- “No, officer. I don’t know why you pulled me over.” — Odds are you will be asked by the officer if you know why they pulled you over. Whether the officer is friendly or confrontational, you have to be polite at all times.
- “May I reach for my license and registration?” — A police officer is under a great deal of stress, always on guard for a possible confrontation. Relieve that tension by speaking to the officer with respect. Tell them your license is in your wallet, and your registration is in the glove box. Keep your hands in plain sight on the steering wheel until the officer says you can move them.
- “I would rather not take a field sobriety test.” — While you need to be polite, you also need to know your rights. One of the most important ones is that you do not need to submit to a roadside sobriety test.
What Should I Not Say During a DUI Stop?
We see far too many examples of someone saying something they will later regret during a DUI stop. Even if the officer who arrests you seems like a nice person, that officer has very likely already decided you are guilty. Don’t make it easy for the officer to do so. It’s better to say as little as is absolutely necessary, but you definitely want to avoid these slip-ups:
- “I’m drunk.” — This seems to be a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how often people admit they’re impaired. This statement won’t get you any points for honesty, and will very likely doom your case.
- “I’ve been drinking a little.” — Don’t even admit to having a beer or a mixed drink because this admission will be used against you. At the same time, however, it’s vitally important not to lie to the officer. Instead, politely decline to answer the question.
- “I’ve been convicted of DUI in another state. Can you give me a break?” — It might seem like common sense not to say something like this, but common sense can often fly out the window when you are pulled over for a DUI. In some instances, DUI investigations take place very quickly. Investigators sometimes don’t have the time to perform full background checks on suspects. If you volunteer that information, you’re simply making it easier for them to potentially increase your penalty if you are found guilty.
Call today to learn more about what to say and what not to say during a DUI traffic stop.