You had a great time out with your friends, but you were pretty tired when you headed home. You rolled through a stop sign just a little too fast or took a turn too widely, and the next thing you knew there were blue lights flashing behind you from a police car.
You aren’t drunk, but you had been drinking — and that means that you could be in trouble. You don’t have to be over the legal blood alcohol limit to end up charged with drunk driving. You can just about bet that the officer who pulled you over is going to be suspicious and ask some difficult questions.
Should you answer the officer if they ask if you’ve been drinking?
You’re under no legal obligation to do so. Keep in mind, however, that it’s illegal to lie to a police officer — but it is within your rights to decline to answer. You can try deflecting the question by saying something like, “Why did you stop me, officer?” but you may have to fall back on your rights by saying something like, “I don’t answer questions without the advice of my attorney.”
What if the officer asks you to participate in roadside sobriety testing?
If the officer wants to do a field sobriety test, such as having you walk heel-to-toe or recite the alphabet, you aren’t legally required to do so. Unlike refusing to participate in chemical testing with a Breathalyzer, you can decline to submit to these tests without affecting your license.
Knowing how to handle yourself at a traffic stop is essential when it comes to protecting your rights. If you are charged with drunk driving, you don’t want to make the prosecutor’s job any easier by offering up any evidence that could point to your guilt. Find out more about how you can defend yourself from charges as soon as possible.