When you were a child, your parents and other adults likely told you to trust police officers. In the event that you became lost or afraid, and could not find your parents, you may have known to find a police officer. While most of these individuals live up to their duty to protect and serve, you may want to rethink trusting officers if they pull over your vehicle on suspicion of DUI.
While you should remain wary of officers in this type of situation -- after all, they are looking to gather evidence against you -- you do not have to come across as disrespectful. Rather than giving an officer additional reason to find you combative, you may instead simply want to exercise your right under the Fifth Amendment to remain silent when questioned by police.
The art of conversation
Many police officers know that direct questioning can make people nervous. As a result, they may utilize various methods to make you and other suspects feel comfortable. These methods may put you at ease and, in turn, loosen your lips. However, even if an officer jokes with you, asks seemingly harmless questions or otherwise seems on your side, remember that he or she is on the job and is not your friend.
Often, asking open-ended questions is a way to get you to provide more than just a yes or no answer. Some common questions that officers may ask you in hopes of getting information include the following:
- How long have you been driving?
- What problems does your vehicle have?
- Where are you going/Where are you coming from?
- How has your day been?
- What have you been doing today?
Often, drivers do not see the connection between these questions and looking for DUI-related evidence. However, if an officer asks about your day, and you say you went out with friends, that answer could prompt questions about how many drinks you had. Because the questioning feels like a conversation, you may answer honestly and unintentionally provide the officer with an incriminating statement.
While remaining silent is often the best option in such situations, you may feel panicked after an officer stops you, and forget your rights. On the other hand, you may remain silent but find yourself under arrest for DUI anyway. If you do face charges, you may want to take the time to explore your defense options with a Florida attorney to ensure that you understand your available avenues for moving forward.