You have the right to remain silent when you are pulled over and questioned by the police. What most people fail to understand is that the police are not required to advise you of this fact until “after” they arrest you. Even though you have the right to remain silent at all times even before you are arrested, police will question you and theses pre-arrest questions are considered part of their investigation. Remember that you are under no obligation to help the police make their case against you! Respectfully remain silent from the very first moment you are encountered by police. You can say, ” I am exercising my Fifth Amendment Right to Remain Silent and to have a lawyer present at questioning.”
When a police officer stops your motor vehicle there are only two possibilities, either you are under arrest or you are free to leave. When the police initially question you before you are arrested repeat your Fifth Amendment rights and then ask if you are free to leave. If you fail to make this statement you may be voluntarily helping the police arrest you and it will be more difficult to get your pre-arrest answers to their questions challenged or thrown out of court.
Police Questions are Designed for Self-Incriminating Answer
In reality, 99% of people who are pulled over for suspicion of DUI will be arrested if the officer smells alcohol on your breath or in your vehicle. The officer is also initially listening to any slur in your speech. Pre-arrest questions are designed to help a police officer arrest you. Field sobriety tests are really not tests at all as there is no passing them. Being able to touch your nose or walk a straight line does not override smelling alcohol on your breath or driving recklessly.
A police officer will ask presumptive questions like, “where were you drinking” and “how many drinks have you had”, not yes or no questions like “were you drinking?” These are called alternative advance questions . Answering these questions create a presumption of the underlying behavior. An example of a presumptive question unrelated to DUI is, “how long have you been beating your wife?”, and not “did you beat your wife?”
Put The Odds in Your Favor
Know what to do when you are pulled over by police. It is critical that you understand your right against self-incrimination before you are pulled over and under pressure to make decisions that will affect the rest of your life. Remember to say, “I am exercising my Fifth Amendment Right to Remain Silent and to have a lawyer present to answer questions. Am I free to leave now?” And while your at it, add my cell phone number to your contacts list right not under the search term, “Florida DUI Lawyer”. I am available 24/7 and on weekends and holidays.