Many of our clients are concerned about statements they have made during a DUI arrest. During an arrest, any statements that you make to officers may be included in the officer’s arrest report. The officer’s report and observations then are used in Court as evidence against the person being charged. Therefore, statements made during the arrest can be crucial to your case, and should be made carefully.
At the time of arrest, many people are scared and have not dealt with law enforcement before. Feeling that honesty is at issue and that they are required to answer any questions the officer may ask, the person being arrested usually fully complies and gives any answers the officers are looking for.
However, every person has a right against self incrimination. This is their fifth amendment right, which protects every person from having to provide evidence that can be used against them when they are being prosecuted. The fifth amendment right extends to any kind of arrest, including DUI arrests. This means that when a driver has been stopped by officers for suspicion of driving while intoxicated, they have the right to remain silent.
For example, Dan has been stopped by officers for having no front license plate. After officers ask Dan about the missing license plate, they ask Dan if he has been drinking. This is a tricky question and how to properly answer it can be difficult. On one hand, Dan wants to cooperate with officers believing that his cooperation will count for something if he is eventually charged with a DUI. On the other hand, Dan has a right to remain silent and refrain from giving the officers any kind of statements that can be used as evidence against him if he is charged with a DUI.
Many clients also believe that if they refuse to answer questions the officers have, they will be treated rudely or harshly punished with additional charges. Although all the concerns are valid, legally, Dan is not required to say anything about whether he has had a drink or not. He is not to lie to officers, that would make him liable for perjury, but he is allowed to politely refuse to answer.
If Dan refuses to answer the question, the officers will have a hard time getting concrete evidence establishing reasonable suspicion for intoxication. If the officers do not have enough evidence, they are not allowed to submit Dan to field sobriety tests or other questions that would help gather a case against Dan for a DUI.
If you have been arrested for a DUI and made statements of admission, it does not mean that your case is lost. There are many other defenses that may be used to help reduce or dismiss your case. To analyze the different elements and aspects of your case that weaken prosecution’s argument, consult a Los Angeles DUI attorney right away!