What Questions Can I Ask the Cops if They Arrest Me for a DUI?
Lawyers are often asked, “What questions can I ask the cops if they arrest me for a DUI?” A general rule after being arrested for any criminal charge is that keeping quiet is the best course of action. However, there are a few circumstances where drivers may want to ask an arresting officer a question about their current status or rights.
Anyone under arrest has rights under the United States and South Carolina Constitutions. Among these are the right to remain silent and to have an attorney present during all questions. At the same time, it is important to understand how and when an arrest takes place and how this affects your rights. This blog could provide more information about what to do and what not to do in the presence of an officer.
The Less You Can Speak, the Better
Always remember that the sole job of police officers is to enforce the law and obtain evidence that helps convict those in violation. As applied to DUI cases, they may want to obtain evidence of a driver’s intoxication and how it affected their ability to safely drive a vehicle.
One method they use to demonstrate intoxication speech patterns. Slow or slurred speech may be considered evidence of intoxication at a DUI trial.
At the same time, officers will be attempting to obtain a confession from a driver. A simple statement that you had a few beers could be enough to justify an arrest and DUI prosecution. It may even constitute a confession at a trial. As a general rule, the less you can say to the cops after a DUI arrest, the better. However, occasions will arise where you will want to ask a few essential questions.
Common Questions That Help Protect Your Rights
One question you may ask during a DUI encounter with the police is whether you are under arrest. This forces the officer to decide in that moment if they are arresting you or not. Typically, the officer will respond that you are being detained for a DUI investigation, and you are not free to leave. However, this provides an argument that your Miranda rights should have been read to you, and anything that was discussed after this point should be suppressed. If the answer is yes, multiple constitutional protections go into effect, and you will want to ask the questions necessary to trigger these protections.
One common question concerns your right to have an attorney present during all questioning. While asking, “Can I have an attorney?” may be effective, it is far better to simply demand that a lawyer be present during all interrogations by stating, “I’m not talking without a lawyer.”
When arrested for a DUI, you will be offered a breathalyzer test. During this test, it may be helpful to request a third party to perform a test. Once this request is made, law enforcement must give a person reasonable opportunity to arrange for another test if they refused to give a sample to law enforcement. However, if an individual provided a sample to law enforcement, and requests a third party to perform the test, the officer must give affirmative assistance in arranging for the third party test.
Another question to ask concerns the availability of a bond hearing. Magistrates and municipal judges set bond on most DUI charges. A bond must be set within 24 hours of being arrested in South Carolina. However, some charges must have a bond set by a circuit court Judge. Inquiring about a bond hearing after booking could help the ordeal end as soon as possible.
Know What Questions to Ask Police if They Arrest You for a DUI
In general, the less you can say after an arrest for DUI or any other charge, the better. However, you may need to speak up to exercise your right to an attorney or to obtain a bail hearing to end your time in police custody. The simple truth is that police officers are not your friends, and their goal is to obtain evidence that proves your guilt in court. The best way to protect yourself is answering questions only about your identity and speaking up only to assert and exercise your rights. Contact Christopher L. Jones, Attorney at Law if you find yourself in a difficult situation.