A lot of my clients ask me if they made the right statements during their DUI arrest. Any statement you make will go onto the arrest report and can be used against you when you appear before the judge.
Arresting officers have a right to ask investigative questions. It is their job to build a case and to gather as many facts as possible. You have the right to not say anything self incriminating. While you are required to give the officer your basic information, name, address, driver’s license, insurance, etc., you are not obligated to answer all of their questions pertaining to your evening.
Officers will ask you if you have been drinking, where you were that evening, how much you had to drink, how much you had to eat that evening and any other questions that will help them build a case against you before the judge. You are not required to answer any of these questions. The first question, “have you been drinking," is critical. If responded to in the affirmative it automatically provides officers with enough probable cause to continue forward with a DUI investigation.
Often people feel that if they do not comply with officers, that they will be treated rudely, or charged with not being compliant. Furthermore, how can they avoid these questions without feeling guilty? It is most important to remain courteous and respectful throughout the whole process. When you do not wish to respond to a question, simply tell the officer that you are sorry but really wish to not answer that question, or decline to comment on that.
The sobriety test given at the scene of the arrest is also not required. You can decline giving that test if you wish to do so without incurring penalty. However, the chemical test given at the station is required by law and you do not have the option to decline.
An experienced Orange County DUI attorney is well versed in what statements are incriminating and which statements are better left unsaid. Once having been said and put on record a DUI attorney is also knowledgeable on which arguments will prove most powerful in minimizing the brevity of any such statements. Perhaps in the future, exercising your right to not comment will be the most powerful defense tool yet.
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