“Have you been drinking?”
If you are stopped for a traffic offense late at night, the officer will likely approach your vehicle with the intent to conduct a DUI investigation. The first question is often “have you been drinking?” (or the more accusatory, “how much have you had to drink tonight?”).
You are not required to answer that question. You have the right to remain silent, to decline to answer that question, or to request an attorney before answering that question.
Any admission that you have been drinking will help the officer establish probable cause to request a chemical test of your blood or breath to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC).
The officer may tell you that they can smell alcohol on you or your breath. They will confront you with this claim in order to pressure you into admitting that you have been drinking and establish probable cause. Even if they claim to smell an odor of alcohol, you are not required to make any admissions and can assert your right not to answer that question.
Police are not required to advise you of your right to remain silent (Miranda) at a traffic stop. That requirement isn’t activated until after they arrest you. Therefore, you have to know and assert your rights on your own when being questioned during a DUI traffic stop.
(You are required to provide your license, registration and insurance. Always keep these items neatly located in an easy to access location. Any struggle to find and identify these documents can also be interpreted as an indication of intoxication.)
If you’re already past this point, and have been charged with a DUI, our defense attorneys can help you through this trying time.