If a police officer pulls you over, they may ask you if you’ve had anything to drink tonight. It’s one of the most common questions, along with things like asking where you’re headed, if you know how fast you were driving or where you’re coming from.
But people are often concerned to say anything in this situation. It feels like there’s no way to win. If someone did have a drink and they lie and say that they didn’t, they worry about the ramifications. But if they admit that they did have a drink, then they worry that they may be incriminating themselves because the officer is going to claim that they are impaired. If this happens to you, are you obligated to answer this question?
You have the right to remain silent
The short answer is that no, you do not have to answer these types of questions. You don’t have to tell the police where you were, where you’re going, if you’ve been drinking or if you know how fast you were traveling. You have a right to remain silent and you can simply inform the police that you don’t want to answer the questions – or that you’d like to wait until you have your legal team present to do so.
There are some pieces of information you will have to provide during a traffic stop. You need to give the officer your driver’s license to identify yourself. You have to provide proof of insurance and registration. So you don’t want to be combative or entirely ignore the police officer. But remember that you don’t have to answer additional questions or incriminate yourself, and it doesn’t mean you’re guilty if you use your right to remain silent.
That said, you may still face arrest. If you do, be sure you know about all of your criminal defense options.