What to Say on the Side of the Road

If you are stopped by the police, and you've had a couple of drinks with dinner, you may worry that the officer can smell the alcohol on your breath. If they smell alcohol, you know they will ask if you've been drinking. What should you say?

How you respond to the police officer's questions can have a real impact on what happens next. If you say you've had a couple of drinks with dinner, the police officer may suspect you are intoxicated. If you lie and say you have not been drinking, and the officer smells alcohol, they may think you are trying to hide something. However, don't forget that actually don't have to say anything.

You are required to provide your driver's license and proof of insurance if you are stopped by police, but you don't have to say anything. If the police get pushy and continue asking questions you can simply say that you do not want to answer any questions and you want to speak with your lawyer before answering any questions.

The police may make it seem like you'll get arrested if you don't talk to them, but they are more likely going to arrest you anyway. If you admit to wrongdoing, they can use that against you and the prosecutor can use it against you in court. You have the right to remain silent, and they can't use your silence against you in court to imply you did something wrong.

If you do chose to answer the police officer's questions, understand that they may be trying to catch you in a lie, which can be used against you. Sometimes it can seem like the police are answering questions they already know the answer to, such as “do you know why I pulled you over.” Of course the officer knows why they pulled you over, but how could you know. You may suspect you know the reason, but there is no need for you to do the officer's job for them.

Sometimes they will ask questions designed to get you to admit to doing something wrong. Instead of asking, “have you smoked marijuana,” the police may ask, “when was the last time you smoked marijuana,” implying that you already do. Questions about where you are going or where you are coming from may also seem like innocent questions, but could be used to catch you in a conflicting story.

Roadside Tests

The police will try and have you do field sobriety tests if they suspect you are under the influence. If you fail these tests, the police will use this to justify a DUI arrest. However, if you pass the tests, you can still be arrested. So doing these tests can hurt you, but can't really help you.

The other way field sobriety tests can hurt you is if the police officer doesn't do them correctly, it may look like you're intoxicated even if you're completely sober. Police officers make mistakes all the time, just like anyone else. They may forget to give you the right instructions for the walk-and-turn test, or may not be paying attention if something happens that makes you fail the test.

There is no law that says you have to do field sobriety tests. You can refuse, and there are no penalties for refusing to do these imperfect tests. If the police officer tries to get you to follow an object with your eye, this is actually one of the field sobriety tests, and you can refuse. If the police give you a hard time about it, just say you want to speak with your lawyer.

If the state patrol officer asks you to blow into a breathalyzer when you are pulled over on the sided of the road, you can refuse that test too. Field breath testing devices are not as accurate as the machines at the police station, so you may not want to take the chance that it will give you a false ready. You can refuse field breath tests with no penalties. However, once you are arrested, if you fail to submit to a chemical test, you can lose your license for a year.

Ask for Your Atlanta DUI Lawyer

If you were pulled over and arrested for driving under the influence in Atlanta, your DUI lawyer can make sure you get the fair treatment you deserve. The police may try and intimidate you and make you feel like you are a criminal. But the police are not the judge. It isn't the police who determine if you get convicted of a crime, that is up to the courts. Make sure you understand the consequences of your answers to roadside questions by police. As an experienced Atlanta DUI lawyer, I will make sure you don't have to face DUI charges all by yourself. Call me today, so I can fight the criminal charges against you, to make sure you are treated fairly by the courts.