Should I answer the police when questioned about drinking? 48 Answers as of May 30, 2013

If a police officer pulls me over and then asks if I have been drinking, should I respond to him? How should I answer him? Can I refuse to respond?

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Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
I'd recommend you retain a lawyer to help you or you ask the court for legal counsel.You have a right to counsel. Don't be afraid to exercise that right. You have a constitutional right against self-incrimination. You never have to answer any question from the police in that situation so long as you invoke that right. Generally, invoking that right to silence is a better choice than the other options because what you say can and will be used against you if the matter results in a criminal charge. Most police officers are skilled questioners and talking to them may increase the odds that they find additional evidence.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 6/21/2012
Law Office of Phillip Weiser
Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
You can refuse to answer if you wish, as anything you tell him can be used against you in a court hearing.
Answer Applies to: Kansas
Replied: 3/26/2012
Palumbo and Kosofsky
Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
You can refuse to respond.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 3/26/2012
Correia-Champa & Mailhot
Correia-Champa & Mailhot | Susan Correia Champa
You may refuse to respond to statements that may incriminate you and I would strongly suggest that you do not make ANY statements that could incriminate yourself. However, you do need to comply with routine questions such as a request for your license and registration or to step out of the motor vehicle.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 3/26/2012
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
You can always refuse to answer questions from the police or anyone else for that matter. Whether you decide to talk or not may well depend on whether you suspect you are being investigated for a crime, including drunk driving. If you believe that by your answers you might be incriminating yourself either in reality or in the mind of the officer, you might want to remain silent. On the other hand, if you believe that you can readily explain what might be suspicious circumstances in the mind of an officer who is trying to be fair and just doing his job, you can avoid a prolongation of the investigation and possibly your being arrested if you explain what really happened.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/26/2012
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    Any time you are stopped by the police you have the right to remain silent about any of the facts related to alleged criminal behavior. You are required to provide information on who you are and where you live and other questions not involving facts relating to the stop. Any time that you do not feel that you can break off the encounter and leave the officer is required to read you your rights. Questions such as how many drinks did you have tonight? Or when did you last have a drink. You do not have to answer.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/26/2012
    Robert Mortland
    Robert Mortland | Law Office of Robert Mortland
    You can refuse to respond and tell him an attorney advised you not to speak with police but you can be required to answer basic booking questions.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/26/2012
    Germaine & Blaszka, P.A.
    Germaine & Blaszka, P.A. | Donald L. Blaszka, Jr.
    You do not have to answer any questions posed by the officer regarding your drinking.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 3/26/2012
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    You have the right to refuse to incriminate yourself and it cannot be used against you to do so. However, if you lie and say you have not had anything to drink and the officer can smell it, he can testify that he smelled an odor of alcohol and you stated that you have nothing to drink. You are best to refuse to answer any question that you think would incriminate you.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 3/26/2012
    Grantland, Blodgett, Shaw & Abel
    Grantland, Blodgett, Shaw & Abel | Gregory M. Abel
    Yes, you can refuse to respond. If you do, it is more likely that you will be asked to submit to field sobriety tests and then the BAC but yes, you can refuse to respond.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 3/26/2012
    Law Offices of Christopher L. Hoglin, P.C.
    Law Offices of Christopher L. Hoglin, P.C. | Christopher L. Hoglin
    If you are stopped and investigated for a DUI, you are not required to answer any questions about drinking. If you have been drinking, you should not admit it. Don't lie. Just refuse to answer those questions. The officer will still likely tell you to take a chemical test (in which a refusal has its own consequences - see vehicle code section 23612), but the less information the officer has the better your chances of beating the charges will be in Court.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/26/2012
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    If the officer asks you if you have been drinking they normally smell an odor of alcohol coming from your person. If you lie to the officer it will likely go downhill from there. If you admit that you have been drinking (I had two beers or two drinks, etc., ) you will normally be asked to perform field sobriety test. The only correct answer if asked if you have been drinking is "no". A cab ride is approximately 100 times cheaper than an arrest and conviction for a DUI.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 3/26/2012
    Russman Law
    Russman Law | Ryan Russman
    You can refuse to respond.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 3/26/2012
    Law Office of Patrick E. Donovan, PLLC
    Law Office of Patrick E. Donovan, PLLC | Patrick E. Donovan
    Yes, you can refuse to submit to any test, or answer any questions. You do, however, have to provide the officer with your name and license upon request.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 3/26/2012
    H. Scott Basham, Attorney at Law, P.C. | H. Scott Basham
    You are not required to answer any questions. You are, however, required to give them your driver's license and proof of registration. Nowadays they don't usually ask to see an insurance card; they check that on their computers based on your name and tag number. You are also required to submit to any sobriety tests they ask you to do, or you can receive a 12 month non-criminal suspension of your license under the implied consent law.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 3/26/2012
    Dungan, Lady, Kirkpatrick & Dungan PLLC | Michael Dungan
    You do not have to speak with police when you are pulled over other than correctly identifying yourself and providing license, registration, and proof of insurance. Be respectful about it, and don't make additional problems for yourself.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 3/26/2012
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    Your, being pulled over is the start of a police "investigation" and not an actual arrest, so your normal "arrest" rights do not apply. They can request your driver's license, registration and insurance. You don't have to answer other question. A lot of time the cop will ask if you know why you were stopped. An answer like because I was speeding will then be considered an admission and be used against you. Always treat any conversation with a cop as if ANYTHING YOU SAY CAN AND WILL BE USED AGAINST YOU.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 3/26/2012
    Larry K. Dunn & Associates | Larry K. Dunn
    No person can be compelled to answer any question except to identify yourself pursuant to Nevada Revised Statute 171.123. It is advisable to always be polite and respectful to a police officer. You may politely tell the officer that you do not wish to answer any questions.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 3/26/2012
    Law Offices of James A Bates
    Law Offices of James A Bates | James A Bates
    We all have the right to remain silent. Use it.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/26/2012
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    You should absolutely refuse to answer any questions, because it is your right to. Ever heard of the right to remain silent?
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/24/2012
    The Law Office of Stephanie M. Arrache
    The Law Office of Stephanie M. Arrache | Stephanie Arrache
    You can definitely refuse to respond and can refuse the field sobriety tests.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/24/2012
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    You should say, "No officer, I would not drink and drive'. Do not admit that you are coming from a bar or party. Cooperate and ask to call a lawyer if he asks you to do field sobriety tests or an alcosensor test...especially a breathalyzer test at the station. If you have a prior DWI, had an accident, or are very drunk you should refuse the breathalyzer and if you can't walk and talk reasonably well you should refuse the field sobriety tests. If you fall down or throw up you are going to get convicted of DWI in most cases. If you blow over .18 you will usually get convicted. It is a lot cheaper and smarter to just take a taxi.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 3/23/2012
    T.K. Byrne | Timothy K. Byrne
    Answer truthfully or not at all.
    Answer Applies to: Mississippi
    Replied: 3/24/2012
    Leone, Throwe, Teller, & Nagle
    Leone, Throwe, Teller, & Nagle | Adam J. Teller
    You may always politely decline to respond to any question asked by a police officer, except (in most circumstances) that you must produce license, registration and insurance for any vehicle you are operating and provide your name, address and ID in response to request.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 3/23/2012
    Miller & Harrison, LLC
    Miller & Harrison, LLC | David Harrison
    No.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 5/30/2013
    Law Office of Richard Southard
    Law Office of Richard Southard | Richard C Southard
    Anything you say can and will be used against you at trial. It's always best to ask for an attorney before answering any questions.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 3/23/2012
    Law Office of Neal L. Weinstein
    Law Office of Neal L. Weinstein | Neal L. Weinstein
    You do not need to respond. Anything you say can and WILL BE used against you. Tell him you will not talk without your lawyer present. The cop will probably threaten you with arrest but that is better than telling him anything, Also, DO NOT take any field sobriety tests, or consent to a search of your car or person, as those are all voluntary on your part and WILL BE used against you later. Tell him you want your lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Maine
    Replied: 3/23/2012
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    You can refuse to answer his questions. That is your right. However, based upon what is before the officer, based upon the facts he has in front of him, ie., your driving, any witnesses, your demeanor, the odor of alcohol, etc., you will probably still be arrested. Get an attorney to help you.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 3/23/2012
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    You have a right to refuse any and all questioning, all you need to provide is your legal name and address, if asked. Remember, under the fifth amendment, you have the right to remain silent, or inform the officer you respectfully refuse to answer their questions.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 3/23/2012
    Betts Legal Services
    Betts Legal Services | Shawn M. Betts
    You do not have to answer any questions posed by an officer when stopped other than to identify yourself. Never admit to consuming alcohol.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 3/23/2012
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    You are obligated to provide your name and ID when requested. You are obligated to perform a Field Sobriety Test when requested. Other than that, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. Answer carefully truthfully or not at all. Do not commit contempt of cop with a bad attitude. Whenever threatened, arrested or charged with any crime, what can you do No amount of free 'tips and hints' from here or anywhere else are going to effectively help you in your defense, other than the advice [if not already too late] is to exercise the 5th Amendment RIGHT to SHUT UP and do NOT talk to police or ANYONE about the details of the case except through an attorney. That includes on this or any other web site or public forum. Most police and prosecutors will happily tell you that 95% of people convict themselves by trying to be 'helpful and cooperative', either during initial contact, questioning, interview or interrogation. Hire an attorney, unless you know how to effectively represent yourself in court against a professional prosecutor intending to convict.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/23/2012
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady | Kevin O'Grady
    You do not have to answer questions. You should not exaggerate, or lie, or tell them you have been drinking. You need not answer the questions.
    Answer Applies to: Hawaii
    Replied: 3/23/2012
    McClendon Owens Melia McBreen LLP
    McClendon Owens Melia McBreen LLP | Richard L. McBreen III
    You should never speak to the police, especially when you're under investigation of a crime. You can and should always refuse to respond.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 3/23/2012
    San Diego DUI Law Center
    San Diego DUI Law Center | Rick Mueller
    No.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/30/2013
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    First, driving is not a right, but a privilege. So, I don't quite know how the police would pull you over and you refuse to hand him your license and/or refuse to answer to questions about your erratic driving. If the officer smells alcohol, and you refuse to answer any questions, you will be arrested. If you refuse to blow in the alco sensor, your driver's license will be suspended for one year. However, you probably won't be convicted of a DUI, because there will be no evidence of DUI. While you beat the DUI, you will not be driving for one year.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 3/23/2012
    Law Office of Edward J. Blum
    Law Office of Edward J. Blum | Edward J. Blum
    No.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/30/2013
    The Law Offices of Harold L. Wallin | Harold L. Wallin
    You do not have to answer any questions. That is your constitutional right.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 3/23/2012
    Law Offices of Douglas J. Lindsay
    Law Offices of Douglas J. Lindsay | Douglas J. Lindsay
    You are not required to say anything. However, if you take this course of action, the police officer can make an arrest based upon what he has observed and any evidence at the scene. If arrested, you will be offered a breath, blood or urine test. If, you refuse, your driving privileges will be automatically suspended, irrespective of your guilt or innocence.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 3/23/2012
    Lykins Law | Gerald Lykins
    It is likely that your question is too late to help. Michigan Law requires you to cooperate with information such as your name and provide your license, proof of insurance and registration. You also have to answer basic questions. However, after identification has been established you can refuse to answer further questions. The truth here, is that your failure to cooperate could be a double edge sword and you could find yourself in further trouble. What is best, is to assert your right an attorney, if you have an attorney or a phone number to one that would be better.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 3/23/2012
    Andersen Staab PLLC
    Andersen Staab PLLC | F. Dayle Andersen
    You have no obligation to provide testimony that incriminates you.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 3/23/2012
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