Let’s get one thing straight. If you have been pulled over for a DUI, the police officer is not your friend! He is not there to help you. He is there to make sure that he can justify the reason he pulled you over, and literally everything you do from the time you see those lights flashing in your rear view mirror can be crucial to the eventual outcome of your case. I repeat, the police are not your friends, no matter how nice they seem or how helpful they can be. Although you should always be courteous and polite to a police officer under any circumstance, you don’t need to make them like you. They are there to do a job, and their job is to make sure they can prove that they had “probable cause” to pull you over. You should always give the police officer your name, address and date of birth, but if they ask you any other questions, the best advice I can give you is DON’T SPEAK.
You will not impress the police with the importance of your job or profession or who you know “down at the station.” They will not be impressed that your father-in-law is a police officer or that you are an important person in the community. They don’t care that you just “live around the corner” and they will not let you get back in your car and drive home. They don’t care if your dog is home waiting for you. None of these things will make a difference and there is no way you will be able to talk yourself out of what will follow. Take a deep breath and DON’T SPEAK.
Don’t tell them it was all your fault and how sorry you are and that it will never happen again. Even if you are guilty, don’t confess because if you ever end up going to trial, everything you say can and will be held against you and it is much harder to win a case when there is a confession. Even if you consider yourself an honest person and you don’t want to lie, just DON’T SPEAK.
If you don’t say anything, you won’t “slip” and tell a little white lie which later could be used against you. Sometimes when we have had a little too much to drink or we are nervous, we tend to embellish our statements to make them seem more believable. Sometimes when we talk too much, we also say more than we need to say. Why give the police anything that the State could use to convict you later on? Don’t fall into this trap – just DON’T SPEAK.
When the police officer who arrests you goes to fill out his Probable Cause Affidavit (otherwise known as the Police Report), if you make any kind of statement, you run the risk of the officer not being able to exactly recall what you said with 100% accuracy – this is especially important when there is no dash-cam or body-cam footage of the arrest. Why take the chance that their memory may not be perfect? DON’T SPEAK.
The police officer you may be tempted to get “talky” with does not have the authority to cut you any deals or negotiate any plea agreements, even though they may lie to you and tell you that they can in order to get you to talk. Don’t believe them and DON’T SPEAK.
Even if you are guilty and you want to confess, there may be extenuating circumstances that may justify a lesser charge. If you talk to the police and in the course of your conversation you confess to a higher offense, the prosecutor can try the case using your confession to the higher offense. This is just another reason not to talk to the police. DON’T SPEAK.
Lastly, no one tells a story exactly the same way twice. If you provide a statement at the time of your arrest and your matter goes to trial and you are cross-examined at the trial, there is a good chance that you will not make exactly the same statement that you made on the day of your arrest. This will not be good for you, so just DON’T SPEAK to the police.
If you have been arrested in South Florida, contact the Misdemeanor Clinic. We are available 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. Call us at (561) 425-8229 or visit our website at www.misdemeanorclinic.com.