Virginia Criminal Defense Attorney
A person never has to answer questions of police except to identify themselves if asked. They always have a right to refuse to answer questions, even if they’ve been pulled over on suspicion of a DUI. However, police may use a person’s refusal to answer questions as a reason to do field sobriety test or as consciousness of guilt. This could be a reason to help build probable cause to arrest the person. It is not used against a person in court at trial since it is well within their rights to refuse to answer police questions. In any case, DUI or otherwise, a person never has to speak with police against their will, except to identify themselves, and to show the officer their license, registration, and proof of insurance when asked. Consult with a Fairfax DUI lawyer if you have any additional questions about speaking with police during a traffic stop.
The person should follow the instructions of the Fairfax police officer. The police are in control of the situation. They will ask the questions, and he or she should comply with the police to the extent they are able. They should not make any admission that could harm them later, such as saying they had one or two drinks. If a person has been drinking, they should refuse a field sobriety test and refuse the preliminary breath test.
The officer usually watches the person to see if they are able to obtain that information without a physical problem such as fumbling around looking for it, or having trouble with coordination. The officer takes the documents to the car to make sure the person is validly registered, to see if there are any car convictions, and to make sure the person is insured. The officer comes back to the vehicle and begins their DUI investigation, if they have reason to believe that the person is driving under the influence.
Fairfax police ask questions because they want to see if the person makes admissions against themselves. It is probably in a person’s best interest to not answer the question because it may harm them. If someone says they knew they were speeding, that is admission and can be used against the person. If a person says they weren’t speeding, that could be used as evidence that the person wasn’t aware of what was going on. Although it’s hard to do, the best bet is not to answer the question from the police, and to politely say: “I don’t want to answer any questions without my attorney.”
A person’s hands should always be where the officer can see them. This is typically on top of the steering wheel unless the officer asks the person to put their hands out the window. It is never in a person’s interest to have their hands hidden from police; that can end very badly. Police are suspect of people whose hands they can’t see. A person should always put their hands where police can see them, or where police order the person to put them.
A person should never exit their vehicle unless explicitly told to do so. They should speak to the officer until the officer asks them to exit the vehicle. If a person exits the vehicle, the officer often will pull their gun and have the person lay down on the ground because they think the person is attacking them. It’s never in a person’s interest to exit their vehicle until the police tell them to do so.