What to Say When Police Ask “Have You Been Drinking”

What if police ask…Have you been drinking?

What if police ask you have you been drinking during a traffic stop. How do you answer that question?  Do you have to answer that question? What should you say? That’s what we’re talking about today. Hi, my name is Dale Savage and I’m a criminal defense attorney here in Charleston, SC. Today we’re talking about how to answer police during a traffic stop when they ask you have you been drinking.

How to answer drinking questions by police

During a DUI investigation good police officers will ask have you been drinking.  To understand how to answer this question it’s important that you know why police ask this.  When police ask you this question, they are collecting evidence, that is what they are trained to do. In most South Carolina DUI cases there are dash cam videos and body cam videos recording what you say and how you act.  All this is going to be added to the police file as evidence against you.  There’s nothing wrong with police doing this, that is how they are trained to prove their case.

Now that you know your answers to these questions will be used as evidence against you, what do you say?  Do you have to say anything?  There is no legal requirement to answer these types of questions by police.  That doesn’t mean you tell police that you don’t have to answer that question b/c good officers will know that keeping you talking will most likely help their case.  Even if you don’t admit to drinking, police will use your statements as evidence against you by saying that you were evasive or nervous when asked a simple question.

So now that we know the problem, what’s the legal solution. Tell police “I want a lawyer.” Why is this answer not being evasive or something that can be used against you in court? Because when you tell police you want a lawyer, you are asserting your 5th and 6th amendment rights to remain silent and to a lawyer.  Importantly, asserting your legal rights cannot be used against you in court. Police can’t tell a jury that you lawyered up good defense attorneys will prevent that from happening.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you won’t be arrested, but it does mean that there won’t be any further verbal statements being added to the police evidence file against you. You’re not going to talk your way out of a DUI. Police won’t care that you are less than 1 mile from your home or you admitted to only having a couple of drinks. These types of statements will be used against you. The less evidence there is, the better chances you will have in getting the best result possible in your case.

Charleston, SC DUI Attorney

So, if have been arrested for DUI and have questions about your case, please call me at (843) 530-7813.  I hope this video was helpful and thanks for watching

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