“Do you know why I pulled you over tonight?”

DUI patrol motorcycle cops

You just left a wonderful company party, it’s late at night, and you can’t wait to get home. Not long after getting on the road, though, you are surprised to see lights flashing behind you. You pull over safely and the police officer approaches your window, asking for your license and registration. And then the questions begin.

“Do you know why I pulled you over tonight?” “Where are you headed?” “Where are you coming from?” and the big one, “Have you had anything to drink tonight?”

You may be tempted to make friends with the officer at this point, to laugh and tell him about the great party you just left, and maybe even add a funny story about how your friend Bob got wasted and ended up dancing on the table in the corner. It’s good to build a rapport with them, right? Make friends with the cop so they will trust you and let you off with just a warning for that extra 10 miles per hour over the speed limit.

Of course, at that point the officer could very easily take your few innocent comments, combine them with the fact that your eyes are bloodshot (just from being tired, of course) and suddenly you find him asking you to take a few field sobriety tests, even if you never took a single drink at that party. What did you do wrong?

It’s important to understand your rights in this situation. Do you really need to answer the officer’s leading questions? And how soon can you contact a Spokane DUI Attorney?

It may seem that the best thing to do is answer the officer’s questions, all of them, and comply with every request. After all, anything else would look suspicious, right? Actually, not necessarily. Make sure to hand over your license and registration when he asks for it, and answer any questions regarding your identity (name, address, etc.) but it is actually better to decline answering any other questions. If he asks to search your vehicle, it is better to say no and require him to get a warrant, even when you know there is nothing to find.

It’s the same with the question of how much you have had to drink tonight. It is perfectly within your rights to let him know you would rather not answer any more questions, and if he is suspicious and would like to arrest you, make sure to tell him that you want your attorney present for any questions or testing.

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