Fisher Law Office

If police stop you for DUI, do you have to answer questions?

Many people become nervous when approached by California police officers. Though these individuals have a duty to keep civilians safe, they can often cause anxiety due to people feeling like they might have done something wrong. You may even wonder whether you have to talk to police officers at all.

In many cases, you do not have to speak with officers because of your right to remain silent. However, if an officer stops your vehicle and suspects that you are driving under the influence, you will still need to provide the officer with your name if requested. Beyond that, you may choose whether you answer any questions an officer poses to you.

Remaining silent

You likely know that authorities have a duty to read you your rights, also known as giving a Miranda warning, before conducting an interrogation. Before this warning is required, officers must have placed you under arrest. If you are not under arrest, an officer can still ask you questions, but even if he or she has not given you a Miranda warning, you can still choose to exercise your right to remain silent.

Remaining silent gives you the opportunity to avoid making incriminating statements that authorities may use against you later. The Fifth Amendment is a protection against self-incrimination.

Speaking to police

If you have already begun answering police questions, you do not have to continue answering them if you no longer want to. You may assert your right to remain silent at any point during a police interrogation, and the officer or officers must stop the interrogation. Officers may attempt to make you feel guilty for refusing to answer or make it seem like talking to them will work in your favor, but that may not be the case.

Additionally, if police try to coerce you or threaten you into answering questions and you answer out of fear, any information they obtain through these tactics cannot be used in court.

Speaking to an attorney

In addition to having the right to remain silent, you also have the right to an attorney. If authorities suspect you of drinking and driving, it may work in your best interests to request an attorney and otherwise remain silent. Working with your legal counsel may allow you to find the best way to handle your legal predicament and let you know when you should answer police questions or make other statements.

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Fisher Law Office

1322 Morro Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401-4028

Phone: 805-706-0205
Fax: 805-542-0464
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