Los Angeles DUI Questioning
The first step of any DUI investigation typically involves the officer’s initial contact with the driver. During this initial contact, the officer will question the driver about his or her drinking or drug use and driving activity. This questioning is often very important and in many cases the answers the driver provides may be used to justify the arrest and ultimately may be used as evidence against the driver. For many drivers, being questioned by law enforcement may be a new experience that they do not know how to handle. It is important that drivers do not lie to the police but should refrain from making incriminating statements.
Most DUI arrests begin after an officer observes a driver commit a violation of the Vehicle Code and then pulls the driver over. The officer will approach the driver’s window and will ask for the driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance. The officer may engage the driver in small talk or ask about the observed driving conduct. When asking these questions, the officer will be looking for any indication that the driver may be intoxicated. This can include physical symptoms of intoxication such as bloodshot or watery eyes or an odor of alcohol. The officer may also become suspicious if the driver is slurring his or her words. If the officer suspects that the driver may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, he or she may question the driver about alcohol or drug use.
Officers will often ask drivers where they are coming from, where they are going, if they had any alcohol to drink earlier and, if so, how much alcohol was consumed. The officer may also ask if the driver had ingested any prescription or illegal drugs. A driver’s answer to these questions can be critical. If a driver admits to drinking, these statements can be used against the defendant. Many drivers wonder why a police officer can question them during a traffic stop without first giving a Miranda warning and informing them of the right to remain silent and that their statements can be used against them. Courts have held that officers are only required to give such a warning for defendants facing a post-arrest interrogation. This warning is not required during a DUI investigation when the driver is briefly detained by officers. This means that any statement provided can lawfully be used against the driver in this situation.
Drivers questioned by police should never lie, but should be careful in how they answer questions about drinking or drug use. Drivers can always respond by politely stating “I have nothing to say regarding that.”
In many cases involving DUI collisions, the officer may try to get someone to admit to driving in order to justify a subsequent DUI arrest. In most DUI collision cases, the officer is not present when the driving conduct occurred and does not have personal knowledge regarding whether or not a suspect was actually a driver. In some cases where there are no other witnesses, the officer will rely on a suspect’s own admission that he or she was the driver of a vehicle. This type of admission can be used against the driver to prove that he or she was driving at the time a collision occurred.
If you have been arrested for DUI, it is crucial that you speak with a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer as soon as possible. Attorney Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience who understands how to effectively litigate many of the complicated issues that arise in DUI cases.
For more information about Los Angeles DUI questioning, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1520, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.