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Incriminating Statements

If you are stopped for DUI, the police officer will ask you several questions. You are not required by law to answer them. You should remain silent. It is, however, legally expected of you to identify yourself. The best way you can do this is by handing the officer your license, registration, and proof of insurance. By presenting these items, you avoid speaking, and you avoid the officer writing “the driver had slurred speech” in the police report.

It can never be used against you that you declined to answer the police officer’s questions. This is because you have a Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when you are being investigated for any criminal act, including DUI. Most people answer the officer’s questions, because the situation is intimidating — and they believe that not speaking will only antagonize the officer, or make them look bad to the judge in their case later. It is true that you will aggravate the police officer if you remain silent, but the judge will understand that you made a wise legal decision. Most important, however, is that remaining silent prevents the Denver District Attorney from having additional evidence against you.

Denver Colorado police do not have to read you your rights before asking you questions when you are pulled over. But simply because they’re allowed to ask you questions – does not mean that you have to answer. Most drivers mistakenly believe that not speaking will make them look guilty later in court. Your right to remain silent is absolute. If your DUI case were to go to trial, the prosecutor would not be allowed to tell the jury that you did not speak to the officer. Nor would the prosecutor be allowed to argue to the jury that you didn’t answer questions because you had something to hide.

Denver area police will, in almost every case, ask you if you have been drinking, and ask how much you have had to drink. Again, you should not answer these or any other questions. You may think that you can avoid being arrested if you cooperate, but that is unlikely. The officer either has enough evidence to arrest you — or he does not. Your answers to questions are nearly certain not to help you, and will most likely hurt your DUI defense case later.

Most of your statements can be used against you in court. However, under certain circumstances, your DUI lawyer will be able to suppress, or keep out of evidence, your statements to the police officer. Once you have been formally arrested, the officer is supposed to read you your rights before asking you any questions. (This does not include the time during which you are pulled over, or when you are doing field sobriety tests.) Only after you have been handcuffed do your Miranda rights apply — and only when you say something in response to the officer. If you say something without being asked a question, your statement is admissible against you in court — regardless of whether you have been read your rights.