Right when someone is pulled over on suspicion of driving while intoxicated (DWI), the highway patrol officer will probably start to ask question after question. “How many drinks have you had tonight? When did you start and stop drinking? Did you eat dinner?” Even though these almost sound like the questions a concerned friend might ask, do not be fooled. This is actually an officer’s attempt to extract a useful confession out of you without having to call it an unjust interrogation.
Rather than answering the police’s questions after you are pulled over, you can and should just stay quiet. No matter how rude you might feel, or how intimidating the officer might try to act, zipping your lips is almost-always your best bet. After all, the police cannot force you to speak, so the final decision to do so rests with you.
Your Fifth Amendment Rights Must Be Respected
You are supposed to always follow the orders of an officer of the law, right? Why is it that you can choose to stay quiet after being pulled over for suspicion of DWI without getting in trouble? You have the Fifth Amendment to thank.
In a brief summation, the Fifth Amendment guarantees that you will be given due process when suspected, accused, or charged with a crime, and that you have the right to not answer questions that could reasonably incriminate yourself without first talking to an attorney. Questions about how much alcohol you have had, whether or not you have eaten recently, and so on seem innocent but they are actually fishing for incriminating evidence. Therefore, you have the right to refuse to answer them.
If you do decide to stay silent, make that intention known clearly. Don’t just bite your tongue and stare straight ahead. That would be strange and could be interpreted as evidence of intoxication or impairment caused by drugs. You should state clearly, “I am invoking my Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, officer, until I am joined by my attorney.”
Your private business is your private business. However, publically available information is probably not worth hiding. That is to say, if the police officer asks your name or another identifying question, you can likely answer it without any fear of a possible backlash.
Houston DWI Attorney Tyler Flood
At Tyler Flood & Associates, we have an intentional and sole focus on DWI cases in Texas. If you have been accused of driving while intoxicated, call us at (713) 497-1223 at your first opportunity. With the help of our Houston DWI lawyer, you might be able to protect both your future and your driving privileges.