For young drivers especially, knowing how to interact with an officer during a DUI stop is very important. From the moment that a police officer flips on the blue lights and follows a car, that officer is already gathering information about the driver, attempting to determine if he or she committed a crime.
No matter how casual the officer may seem when he or she comes to the window of a vehicle, it is crucial to understand that every single thing that a driver says during the stop may count as evidence. It is important to carefully control what you say and do during the stop to minimize the evidence that the officer can collect.
If you face a DUI stop, remember to protect your future rights, not only your immediate concerns. While there is no magic set of words to set you free during an interaction with the police, you can reduce the evidence that the officer collects, making it much harder for prosecution to build a case against you, and potentially giving you an advantage when it comes time to fight the charges.
Police do not have to read you your rights
Many drivers do not understand that police do not have to read you your rights in order to collect evidence against you. In general, police do not have to read a suspect his or her Miranda rights until the suspect is “in custody.” This means that, until an officer places a suspect in custody and charges him or her with a crime, the officer is free to ask a suspect questions and probe for information without informing the suspect at all.
A wise response is to only give the officer as little information as you can. By law, you must give the officer your name and probably have to show him or her some form of identification. That, however, is the extent of what the law requires. Beyond giving an officer your name, all other information that you give is voluntary.
Even if it is uncomfortable, it is usually best from a legal standpoint to say as little as possible rather than try to talk your way out of the interaction. Police hear thousands of lies over the course their careers, and they rarely give suspects the benefit of the doubt. It is never a good idea to lie to a police officer, because this may possibly lead to criminal charges.
Instead, it is more effective in the long run to simply refuse to answer questions that may incriminate you. It is perfectly legal to tell an officer that you do not wish to answer any more questions without your attorney present. This response will probably not keep you from receiving charges, but it does improve your options once you receive charges.
Protecting your rights should be the priority
With a strong legal strategy, you can keep your personal rights and freedoms protected in the face of DUI charges or any criminal charges. Understand, however, that as soon as you receive criminal charges of any kind, prosecution begins building its case against you.
You should not put off building your strategy, because this gives your prosecution more time to prepare. Make sure that you use high-quality legal resources and guidance as you fight for your freedom and do your future self a favor by limiting what you say in any police interaction.