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How Do I Answer Police Questions during a DWI Stop?


Imagine you’ve been drinking with friends all night. Maybe you were bar crawling across town or maybe it was a relaxed kickback at a friend’s house. Either way, you need to get home somehow. You’ve had a few drinks over the course of a few hours, but it’s been a long time since your last one. You feel sober enough to drive – more tired than anything else – so you get in your car and head home.

You’re not on the road for long before you see red and blue lights flash from behind you. Your heart instantly starts pounding because you’re not sure what you did wrong and worry the officer might investigate you for a DWI. You begin to doubt how sober you felt when you began driving, and you become even more worried. As the officer approaches your vehicle, you know you’re going to have to answer some difficult questions – or at least you think you do.

The Only Questions You Have to Answer

Police officers ask drivers all kinds of questions during a traffic stop, especially if they suspect DWI. What most people don’t realize is that despite all of these questions, there’s really only one category that must be answered: biographical questions.

You are ONLY obligated to answer questions to law enforcement that concern your biographical information. This means that if you are asked for your name, you must answer. If you are asked where you live, you must answer, and so on.

If a police officer’s questions fall outside of this category, you do not have to provide an answer – and you shouldn’t! Doing so can provide the officer with the information they need to establish probable cause, which can lead to your arrest.

How to Respond to DWI & Other Police Questions

While you don’t have to respond to police questions outside of those concerning your biographical information, it can feel awkward. With that in mind, there is a way to “answer” police questions without providing them the information they can use to arrest you.

If you feel you must respond to police questions in some way, you might want to try this statement:

“I decline to answer, as it is my right to do so.”

This phrase says all you need to say to the police if you are under investigation for DWI. Let’s see it in action:

How are you feeling tonight?

I decline to answer, as it is my right to do so.

How many drinks have you had?

I decline to answer, as it is my right to do so.

Are you going to your next party?

I decline to answer, as it is my right to do so.

Did you notice you were swerving a bit back there?

I decline to answer, as it is my right to do so.

This phrase can help you in all sorts of ways because it provides you with the basic components you need to answer any question. It might take some restructuring, but you can answer other questions and still protect yourself:

Let’s do a field sobriety test just to make sure.

I decline, as it is my right to do so.

Why don’t you want to answer any of my questions?

Because it is my right to do so.

When in Doubt, Just Say Nothing – but Never Lie!

Remember: You are under no obligation to answer a police officer’s questions! If you are unconformable using the phrase above, the safest option is to say nothing at all!

Bear in mind that you should never lie to the police – not even a small lie. Lying to law enforcement is a crime, so you could end up with a criminal charge even if you aren’t arrested for DWI.

Arrested? Stay Quiet & Contact a Lawyer

If you are ultimately arrested for DWI, remember that you still have the right to remain silent. Just as before, you don’t have to answer any questions, nor should you. At this time, you also have the right to legal counsel. If you say anything to the police, tell them that you want your attorney present.

When you need legal help, reach out to The Alband Law Firm for assistance. With our team’s combined experience, we can help you secure an agreeable outcome to your legal situation.

Learn more by scheduling a consultation – contact us online for more information!