The moment you see the patrol car signaling you to stop, your heart may start racing – especially if you have had a drink or two earlier.
In these kinds of situations, drivers often worry whether the officer will detect the odor of alcohol on their breath or notice wine stains on their shirt, but they really need to be primarily concerned about what they might say that could lead to a drunk driving arrest.
With that in mind, here are three things you should never say at a traffic stop:
1. “Sure, I had a drink, but it was just one beer.”
If the officer suspects that you’re operating under the influence (OUI) of alcohol, you can bet that they’re going to ask if you’ve been drinking – and you can also bet they’ve heard the “one beer” excuse before. This kind of statement is just the evidence they need to justify further investigation and a chemical blood alcohol content (BAC) test.
2. “It’s been hours since my last drink.”
Again, this is the sort of thing that officers love to hear because it just makes their job easier. If you’ve said this, you just admitted to drinking before driving. That gives the officer the ability to ask more questions, demand a Breathalyzer test and more. Worse, your words can (and definitely will) be repeated in court.
3. “I didn’t have anything to drink today.”
You are never required to incriminate yourself. You may not, however, lie to police officers who are conducting an investigation (and the traffic stop is definitely an investigation if the officer thinks you’re drunk). Doing so can net you an obstruction of justice charge in addition to a drunk driving charge. If you can’t honestly say you haven’t touched a drop, tell the officer you prefer not to answer any questions without your attorney present.
In fact, once a traffic stop clearly turns into a drunk driving investigation, it’s usually wisest to seek legal guidance.