Statements Made During a Los Angeles DUI Arrest

  • September 1, 2017

    The right to remain silent isn’t just something that you see in movies, and in fact, using your fifth amendment right can actually provide many benefits should you be pulled over and an officer suspect you of driving under the influence. When questioned by an officer for suspicion of DUI, any statements that you make during your questioning and arrest can be included in the arrest report. This means that these statements can also be used as evidence against you in court and could end up being crucial to proving your guilt. For this reason, you need to be fully aware of your rights and always use caution when making any statements to the police.

    Most people have had little to no real contact with law enforcement officers in their lives, and it is only normal that you will be feeling nervous and possibly scared when the officer starts to question you. Unfortunately, many people also don’t remember about their right to remain silent and think that they are legally required to answer any questions. Alternatively, some also feel that the officer and courts will look upon them more favorably if they fully cooperate and answer all of the officer’s questions. Either way, most people end up fully complying with the officer’s questions and give them all the answers they’re looking for. Should this happen, there is a high chance that you will be further incriminating yourself and thus increasing your chances of a DUI conviction.

    The Right against Self Incrimination
    Under the Fifth Amendment, everyone has the right to protect themselves against self incrimination. Your fifth-amendment right means that you cannot be forced to provide any statements that could be used as evidence against you in a court case, and this right extends to every type of arrest, including DUIs. This means that you have the right to remain silent and not answer any of the officer’s questions if you’re stopped and the officer suspects you of driving under the influence.

    For instance, if you were pulled over for a broken taillight and, upon being stopped, the officer asks you if you’ve been drinking. Should this happen, it can be difficult to know exactly what you should do and what you should or shouldn’t say. On one hand, you will probably be tempted to answer the officer’s questions honestly in hopes that your cooperation will convince the court to be more lenient if you are eventually convicted of a DUI. However, you may also be aware of the Fifth Amendment and how it guarantees you the right to remain silent.

    Many people wrongly believe that refusing to answer the officer’s questions will see them treated more harshly or lead to more severe consequences should they be convicted of a DUI offense. However, this is absolutely not true and you cannot be punished for exercising your right to remain silent. In fact, you are almost always better off remaining silent and refusing to admit whether you’ve had a drink or not.

    If you choose not to answer the officer’s question, it will be much more difficult for the officer to prove the probable cause necessary to arrest you on suspicion of DUI unless you show other visible signs of impairment, such as smelling like alcohol or slurred speech. The officer will only be allowed to arrest you and require you to submit to a blood alcohol test if they have probable cause to suspect you of driving under the influence. Even in cases where the officer has other evidence that gives them probable cause, refusing to answer their questions will still prevent you from providing additional evidence that can be used to prove your guilt.

    All is not lost if you make statements of admission during your DUI arrest, and an experienced Los Angeles DUI attorney may still be able to use numerous other defenses to potentially get the charges reduced or dismissed. That being said, the less evidence that you provide the prosecution with, the better your chances are. Either way, a skilled DUI lawyer will be able to analyze the evidence against you in order to prepare your defense and potentially find any holes that can be used to weaken the prosecution’s case against you.

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