If you are stopped and suspected of being under the influence in Washington, DC it is important you do not do anything that will make your situation worse, or provide law enforcement officers any unnecessary evidence against you.
With this in mind, the following are the biggest mistakes you should avoid according to a DC first time DUI lawyer. If you have already been arrested and would like to discuss your case, call and schedule a consultation today.
One of the biggest mistakes that people who have never been charged with a DUI before make is being overly talkative with the investigating officer.
A lot of people do not realize how seriously the District of Columbia treats DUIs and so they do not realize that every single statement they make when they have been stopped and when they are being questioned by a police officer is not only usable evidence against them, but their cooperativeness, eagerness to answer the officer’s questions, and being forthcoming with the officer can actually lead to their significant detriment.
A person always has the option when they have been stopped, whether they are suspected of driving under the influence or for any other reason, to tell an officer, “I am declining to answer any questions without the presence of a lawyer.” That is an absolute right that every single person has regardless of the reason for the stop. This can be said respectfully. It does not need to be confrontational or aggressive, but every single person can decline to answer any question without the presence of a lawyer.
Every single admission a person makes, including admitting to having one or two drinks, is usable evidence that weakens their own case, regardless of how seemingly inconsequential the admission is. So, if a person gets pulled over for a DUI and says “I had two drinks,” that statement is usable as evidence of admission that they have been drinking alcohol.
From there on, police officers may attempt to get a person to talk more because they recognize that while they are on scene during their investigation, they can ask a person pretty much any question they want and then use those statements against them later on at trial. The person may think the officer is just being talkative not realizing that every single thing they say is usable as evidence against them, including
All of this evidence can be used and is why it’s always better to simply say quiet until you contact an attorney.
Another big mistake that people make when they get stopped under suspicion for driving under the influence is sometimes getting argumentative with police officers. Being argumentative or defensive can often be used by the prosecutor to demonstrate a sign of intoxication, even if it has nothing to do with intoxication. Arguing typically does not put a person in a better situation.
The best thing to do during a stop is to say very little, be non-confrontational with the officer, and only provide the information that you’re required to provide; such as your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance.
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