When people are pulled over on routine traffic stops, they may be tempted to lie to the officer in an attempt to avoid a ticket. Common lies include: “I didn’t know I was speeding officer. I was late for work. I didn’t mean to run that red light. I forgot to put my insurance card in the car.” While little white lies may seem harmless, they can get drivers into a lot of trouble, especially when they involve driving under the influence (DUI) stops.
DUI stops are tricky. There’s a lot that drivers can say and do to make things worse. Lying to an officer for one, is something a driver should NEVER do during a DUI stop. But that doesn’t mean a driver should incriminate themselves either because that can be just as bad as lying. Read on as we explain.
Why lying is bad. Suppose the officer asks, “Have you been drinking tonight?” and you say, “Why yes sir.” Then the officer says, “How much did you have to drink tonight?” You say, “I had two beers at dinner,” when you actually had eight beers. Well, guess what? What you just said was captured on the officer’s body camera and when he has you take a breath test; the results are going to prove that you’re lying. What’s going to happen is you’re going to lose all credibility in court.
The solution is to politely decline to answer the officer when he asks you if you’ve been drinking and how much you’ve been drinking. Say something to the effect of, “With all due respect sir, I prefer not to answer your questions.”
Why saying too much is bad. You don’t want to lie, but you don’t want to tell the whole truth either. During a DUI stop, you are under no obligation to tell the officer where you are coming from, if you’ve been drinking alcohol and if so, how much you had to drink. If you say, “Oh, I just came from a bar and I had several beers and shots,” it’s not going to help your case because anything you say will be used against you in court.
As we mentioned earlier, politely decline to answer the officer’s questions. If you are still arrested for DUI, just beware that if you refuse to take a chemical test after the arrest, your California driver’s license will be automatically suspended for refusing a chemical test. However, you are under no legal obligation to take the field sobriety tests and there is no penalty for refusing to take those.
During a DUI stop the goal is to give the officers as little ammunition against you as possible. To do this, you want to be calm, respectful and polite, but don’t incriminate yourself by lying about how much you drank or by talking too much, or by taking the field sobriety tests, which even a sober person can fail.
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