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Should you cooperate with the police or plead the Fifth?

On Behalf of | Oct 11, 2023 | DUI |

During a traffic stop, the police may gather evidence to prove that a driver is drunk. The police may ask the driver to perform standardized field sobriety tests or use a breath test to evaluate their blood alcohol content. 

Typically, the police will start by questioning the driver. It’s often many drivers’ first instinct to respond to the officer’s questions truthfully. However, answering police questions may work against drivers, especially drivers who are sober. Here’s what you should know:

What might the police ask you during a traffic stop?

There are a few standard questions the police may ask if they suspect a driver is drunk. For example, the police may ask a driver if they know why they are being pulled over. A driver who responds in the affirmative, however, is basically admitting that the traffic stop is justified.

The police may simply ask if a driver is drunk or has been drinking. In response, a driver may say that they only had a few drinks. Or, the police may ask a driver where they are or intend to go. If a driver was recently at a bar, then they may tell the police. Both those admissions can be used to justify chemical sobriety testing, which can easily lead to charges.

What is the right to plead the Fifth?

While honesty is usually the best policy, that rule goes out the window when the police are involved. You can’t lie to an officer during an investigation (because that’s also a crime) and something mistakenly said during an investigation could lead to criminal charges even if a driver isn’t drunk. Drivers may want to consider pleading the Fifth during traffic stops. The Fifth Amendment protects people’s Constitutional right against self-incrimination.

It’s important that drivers understand their legal rights during traffic stops. If a driver believes their rights were violated, then they may need to learn about their potential defenses.


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