If you get pulled over under the suspicion that you have been driving under the influence of alcohol, you need to be careful about what you share with the police officer. If you have been drinking and are over the legal blood alcohol (BAC) limit in your state, an officer will arrest you for drunk driving; however, knowing what or what not to say when this happens could affect your DUI case down the road.
A Police Officer Can Use Anything You Say Against You
If you have been stopped by a police officer who suspects you of drunk driving, you can choose to remain silent or selectively respond to questions. This does not mean you can directly ignore a police officer though. You can tell the officer you would not like to answer this question until you have spoken to an attorney.
The officer does have the right to ask for your name, date of birth, driver’s license, and registration information. You should comply with these requests. While this is happening, you can remain quiet. You should not talk about how drunk you are, how good of a night you had, what drinks you had, and other information that could lead to a harsher DUI sentence. Some other things you should refrain from doing include:
- Refuse to take a breathalyzer test (you could have your license taken away for saying this)
- Relay any information related to how much you had to drink
- Admit that you are drunk
- Threaten the officer
- Pay the officer off
- Talk for an extended period (if you must answer questions try to respond with a “yes” or “no” as you do not want to allow the officer time to consider if you are slurring your speech)
Should You Tell an Officer You Have Been Drinking?
This is entirely up to you. If you wish to be honest and tell the officer that you had one or two drinks as well as when you had them, you can. Technically, you should wait an hour between drinks. This admission might give the officer a reason to request that you take a field sobriety and BAC test. However, the officer may also appreciate your honesty, realize you are well below the legal BAC level, and let you go. You should also know that you are legally allowed to refuse to take a field sobriety test.
Can You Refuse a Breathalyzer Test?
You can refuse a breathalyzer test in West Virginia however, you will suffer consequences. When you receive your driver’s license, you automatically agree to take this test should you get pulled over for a DUI. If you refuse to take this test, your driver’s license can be automatically suspended for I year.
Do Not Lie to a Police Officer
This is especially true if you know you had too many drinks. If you tell a police officer you only had one drink and then he/she has you take a breathalyzer test, that is not good. If you believe you are over the BAC limit and are concerned, the best course of action is to remain silent. You should always be respectful and consult with a DUI attorney immediately after.
To schedule a consultation to discuss your DUI case, contact our office online or via (304) 867-0049.