Most Common Police Questions at DWI Stops
MULLIGAN ATTORNEYS DO NOT SUPPORT DRINKING AND DRIVING. WE ALWAYS ENCOURAGE DRIVERS TO BE RESPONSIBLE AND USE A DESIGNATED DRIVER, LYFT, UBER, OR CAB IF THEY’VE BEEN DRINKING.
If you are ever pulled over for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), the police officer already suspects you are breaking the law. However, you are not required to say things that incriminate yourself during a DWI stop.
Below, we’ve listed some of the most common questions officers ask at DWI stops and your rights in the situation.
COMMON DWI STOP QUESTIONS
Do you know why I pulled you over?
You can’t be certain why an officer pulled you over. If you tell the officer you suspect you were pulled over because of your intoxication, this admission can be used against you later in court. You are never required to incriminate yourself during a DWI stop.
Do you know how fast you were going?
Speeding, swerving, broken lights, and extra slow driving can all raise an officer’s suspicion that you’ve been driving under the influence. The law does not require you to tell the officer how fast you suspect you were driving.
Can I have your license, registration, and proof of insurance?
Under North Carolina law, it’s mandatory for you to provide these documents to an officer upon request. The more you fumble and struggle to offer up the documents, the more you will appear suspicious to the officer. Your license, registration, and proof of insurance should always be placed in an accessible spot in your vehicle. Remember, outdated documents can create grounds for more charges.
What is your name? Address? Social security number?
You may become more suspicious of the officer if you aren’t able to recite certain personal information upon request.
Have you been drinking?
North Carolina law does not require you to incriminate yourself by answering this question. You have the right to remain silent and tell the officer you won’t be answering that question. Officers don’t have to read you your right to be silent during this part of the DWI stop, so you may have to assert that right yourself.
Where are you coming from?
Your answer to this question may lead the officer to assume you have been drinking. Again, you can assert your right to remain silent.
Can I search your vehicle?
At this point, the officer has most likely already done a quick search around your vehicle with a flashlight. Regardless, you don’t have to agree to a search without a warrant.
Would you mind stepping out of the car for some roadside testing?
Many people don’t realize that roadside sobriety tests, or Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs), are voluntary. Even if an officer does not tell you this, North Carolina law does not require you to incriminate yourself in this way. Your driver’s license will not be automatically suspended if you refuse to take a roadside test or preliminary breath test.
You are being charged with a DWI. Would you like to take a blood test or breath test? Failure to do so will result in immediate suspension of your driver’s license.
At this point, the officer believes they have established probable cause (Note: Whether there is actually probable cause will be officially determined later on by the court and the DMV). Under North Carolina’s “implied consent law,” if you don’t comply with these chemical test requests, your driver’s license will be revoked for one year and you will have to put an interlock device in your car.
However, you do have the right to choose which test option you would like to use. While breath test results come in quicker and can shorten the amount of time you have to get a good lawyer and request a hearing, the more intrusive blood tests may take months to come in and can give you more time. If your test shows a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher, your license will be suspended for a minimum of 30 days. For drivers who operate commercial vehicles or are under 21, a BAC of 0.04 and 0.01, respectively, will result in license suspension.
Note: If you’ve been stopped and charged for DWI, you will not have the right for an attorney before you give the required chemical tests.
Ultimately, the best way to ensure you’re not charged with DWI is to be a responsible driver and avoid drinking and driving altogether. If you have more questions about DWI or need some help with a DWI charge, reach out to the team at Mulligan Attorneys. We can help you through the process by explaining your options and helping you decide how best to proceed. Click here to get in touch with us, or give us a call at 910-763-1100 to schedule a free consultation.
Did you know two-thirds of U.S. citizens will be involved in a drunk driving accident in their lifetime? Learn more.