Getting stopped by a Florida police officer while driving is often nerve wracking. Many people immediately feel their palms begin to sweat and their heart rates increase as they stop their vehicles and officers approach. In this situation, you may run through the possible reasons for why police may have stopped you.
Though you may initially believe that the officer will tell you that you have a tail light out or that you missed a stop sign, you may feel shocked when the officer begins acting like you have something to hide. Before you know it, the officer may be asking you questions about drinking and driving.
Officers often ask questions during traffic stops to determine whether drivers may be under the influence. You may think that answering these questions is in your best interests, but really, that may not be the case. In fact, your rights under the U.S. Constitution give you the ability to remain silent to avoid self-incrimination. Of course, you may not think about exercising this right before officers place you under arrest. However, you still have the option.
Whether you are still in your vehicle or police have arrested you and taken you to an interrogation room, you may want to remember the following tips when police question you:
- Watch out for open-ended questions: These questions typically need an answer that goes beyond a simple yes or no. However, these questions could also result in you giving more information than necessary, which could inadvertently provide police with evidence.
- Do not try to explain away the situation: You may think that if you talk and explain the situation, you will show officers that you have done nothing wrong. The officer who stopped you may even listen intently to what you say without interrupting, but remember, this is another tactic for gaining more information from you.
- Watch out for yes-no questions: Even if an officer does not ask an open-ended question, you may still want to refrain from answering. Giving a simple yes or no could still work against you.
In some cases, police officers may attempt to make it seem as if they are simply trying to have a conversation with you, but remember, their job is to gather information and evidence. If you engage with their questioning, you may only give them more information that could give reason to charge you with DUI. Instead, you may wish to exercise your right to remain silent. If you do face a charge for DUI, you may also want to exercise your right to an attorney.