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Should you answer the question, “Have you been drinking?”

On Behalf of | Apr 22, 2023 | Drunk Driving

The police ask questions to obtain more information about a case. They will use what you tell them against you, especially when they don’t have solid evidence. Thus, if the police have reasonable suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or other drugs, they may stop you. And the chances are good they will ask you, “Have you been drinking?”

If they do, here is how you can answer without incriminating yourself:

“I refuse to answer without legal help”

This is the answer you should give to the officer when they ask if you have been drinking. Saying no or reducing the number of drinks, for instance, saying you just had a glass of wine or two beers, may not ease the process as you expect. 

When the officer administers a breathalyzer test, and it detects blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or your results are higher than the stated consumption, you may face a charge for lying to the police in addition to a DUI.

Thus, it will be best to politely decline to respond. Other response options are: 

  • May I call a lawyer? 
  • I’m not comfortable answering until I speak with an attorney.
  • I have been advised by a law firm not to answer questions.

These responses show you are willing to cooperate, but not without guidance.

Can the police insist you answer?

Once you politely inform the officer that you cannot respond to the question, they should not insist or force you to answer. They should follow the required procedure, be it administering a breathalyzer test or asking you to follow them to the station.

Anything you say at a DUI stop can be used against you later. Thus, it will help to get legal help to protect your rights.