Been drinking? Say this when an officer questions you
No one plans to get pulled over for driving under the influence and many people who get charged with a DUI never thought they’d had enough to be impaired. So what should you say when an officer pulls you over after you’ve been to a social gathering and had a drink or two?
The most important thing to remember when at a traffic stop is that you don’t want to lie. So when an officer asks if you’ve been drinking, your best answer is to say that you’d like your lawyer present.
There are two common answers that drivers give during traffic stops when asked about whether or not they’ve been drinking. Both are an admission of guilt and could get you into more trouble than you realize.
Here’s a look at the common answers drivers give law enforcement when asked if they’ve been drinking and the trouble these answers can cause.
I’ve only had two beers
Drivers get nervous when law enforcement starts questioning them. And your mind can start running wild. You know the officer can likely smell alcohol on your breath so you figure you can’t say you haven’t been drinking.
Instead, drivers resort to a common answer of saying “I’ve only had two beers.” The problem is, that’s what everyone says. And drivers assume that two beers would mean there’s no way they would test over the limit.
But the reality of the situation is, that every scenario is different. How high your blood alcohol content (BAC) is after two beers depends on the alcohol content in the beer, how fast you drank them, your physical size and metabolism, whether or not you had food while drinking the beer and so much more.
So answering law enforcement that you’ve only had two beers is an admission of guilt. You’re saying that you were drinking and driving. The question of your BAC will still dictate whether or not you can be charged with a DUI, but you’ve given law enforcement more reason to test you.
I haven’t had a drink for several hours
Another excuse that drivers come up with when put on the spot during a traffic stop is that they haven’t had a drink in several hours. Once again, they believe the officer can smell alcohol on their breath and they worry that means they can’t say they haven’t been drinking.
But once again, you’re admitting guilt when you say that you haven’t had a drink in several hours. If this answer is true, the good news is that your BAC is continuously decreasing as you sit there and talk to the officer. The longer you wait to take the test, the less likely you’ll be above the legal limit.
However, there’s still no guarantee that you’re below the legal limit based on the many factors that contribute to your BAC readings. Instead, if you know you’ve had a few drinks, even if it was a few hours ago, invoke your right to have an attorney present.
There is no penalty for requesting your right to counsel
Asking for your attorney to be present during questioning is not an admission of guilt. If you believe your BAC might be above the .08 legal limit, the smartest thing to do is get in touch with your attorney.
Your attorney will guide you through what to say and not say to the officer. And your attorney will protect your rights throughout the traffic stop and any legal proceedings that might take place afterward.
Do not get caught lying to law enforcement. This only makes things worse. Your attorney will not recommend lying but does know ways you can avoid a DUI within the bounds of the law.
Here are a few ways that Gore & Kuperman can defend you from a DUI or DWI in Virginia:
- Questioning the validity of the original traffic stop. What gave the officer probable cause to pull you over in the first place?
- Checking that proper procedure was used in administering the field sobriety tests during your traffic stop.
- Challenging the preliminary breath test.
- Calling into question the blood alcohol testing equipment.
- Ensuring proper testing procedure was used for administering a blood test.
Whether you’ve worked with us before or are a new client, contact us during a traffic stop and we’ll be there for you to protect your reputation. Schedule a free consultation now to learn more about our services and how we can protect your rights when you’re facing a DUI or DWI.