If you are stopped by law enforcement officers you will likely face a series of questions. While they may seem insignificant at the time, your answers can end up having a drastic impact on your case. For this reason, the following are common questions you may face if suspected of DUI and how you should answer them according to an experienced Philadelphia DUI lawyer
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Any questions asked by a law enforcement officer, whether it be because of a DUI or alleged DUI stop and/or motor vehicle in Philadelphia, should be answered in the negative. If the officer asks you, “Do you know you’ve been speeding?” you should always answer no. You can always let the officer know you didn’t feel you were speeding but any time you answer yes to such questions then the officer has reasonable suspicion and potentially even probable cause to stop you and maybe even search your person, your vehicle or subject you to breathalyzers and/or blood tests.
So when an officer asks you a set of questions that involve where you were coming from, it’s never to your benefit to say “the local bar.” If an officer asks, “Have you been drinking?” it’s never to your benefit to say, “Yes, I’ve had a few drinks earlier.”
Under no circumstances are they not going to subject you to a blood draw and/or a breathalyzer test because you’ve answered “yes I have been drinking.” In fact, it’s to the contrary. If you answer “yes I have been drinking,” then the officer is required to request that you give a blood draw and/or subject yourself to a breathalyzer test.
If you’re above the 0.08 or have any controlled substances in your system, you will be arrested for DUI. Let’s not give the officers any more reason than their own suspicions to subject you to a breathalyzer and/or a blood draw.
First and foremost you are to answer any orders directed to you from the officer. If the officer says as he approaches, please roll down your window, you are required to by law to roll down your window. If the officer asks you for proof of insurance, registration and your license you can say, “Yes officer, may I get them?” and he should respond “Yes, you may get them.” At all times your hands should be in a position where the officers can clearly see them. In most cases, just keep your hands on the steering wheel. The officers or at least most of them are trained on how to do a proper traffic stop and it’s to ensure both your safety as well as their safety.
So if you listen to their commands and you abide by them, then you can later say “I cooperated fully with the police and I was certainly capable of driving a motor vehicle safely on the roads of Philadelphia.” However, officers can sometimes be rather harsh in the way they talk to an individual and it’s completely reasonable. It’s so reasonable that a person may be nervous upon being stopped by a police officer that our own Supreme Court has acknowledged that and has indicated that, that in and of itself is not unreasonable and should not be used by itself to indicate a person might be involved in illegal activities such as driving under the influence.
In a nutshell, what a person should do is first obey all commands that an officer gives upon a traffic stop. You don’t have to answer questions involving where you were or personal information but obey all commands.
If the person gets out of the motor vehicle, you will often see an officer reach for a weapon and/or specifically act in a defensive manner. The officer doesn’t know if you’re coming out at them, doesn’t know why you’re coming out and you’re certainly aren’t following any orders. So wait for the officer to direct you what to do. If the officer’s vehicle sits behind you for a few minutes after your stop, that may be because the officer is running your plate for any information about you or the vehicle that the officer feels is necessary.
Wait, be patient, do not move around your car, do not act in a suspicious way. Do not reach in and out of the glove compartment. Do not do anything that would indicate to someone behind you especially an officer that you might be trying to hide evidence or hide actions that you were doing something illegal.
Under all circumstances, sit and wait for the officers to direct you on what you should do and follow their orders. That is the easiest way to deal with this situation and the best way to ensure at a later trial that your rights are protected and you have a viable defense to indicate you are able to operate a motor vehicle safely on the roads of Philadelphia.
David Clark Attorney at Law