“Have you been drinking tonight?”: Understanding the Impact of your Answers to Police Officer Questions During a Traffic Stop







“Have you been drinking tonight?”: Understanding the Impact of your Answers to Police Officer Questions During a Traffic Stop


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If you have ever been stopped by a police officer before, whether it was for a speeding ticket or a road block, you have probably heard the officer ask “Have you been drinking tonight sir/maam?” This question is often asked when you are stopped at night because this is when officers are most suspicious of drinking activity.

If you have been asked this question before, and you did have some alcohol in your system at the time, your first inclination was probably to say something like “Well officer, I did have one beer/one glass of wine tonight.” You probably thought this was a good answer because if you reveal that you had only one drink the officer couldn’t possibly think that you were too drunk to drive right?

WRONG.

When an officer asks you this question he is carefully evaluating your response. An admission of even one drink to the officer legally elevates his or her suspicion that your blood alcohol level is over .08%. This admission alone could give the officer grounds to ask you to step out of the car and perform a number of field sobriety tests which they can then subjectively assess.

An admission of even one drink.

To keep a tense situation on an “even keel” it can be beneficial to comply with an officer when he asks you reasonable questions which he is legally entitled to ask. What you should be aware of is that each and every one of your responses will be carefully recorded by the officer as “factors” which can be used as “probable cause” to arrest you.

Remember, that it is not illegal to drink and then drive. It is illegal to drink and then drive with a level of alcohol that has, according to the law, impaired your ability to drive safely. And every word that comes out of your mouth is important and could have significant legal consequences.

So have a safe holiday and drink responsibly.

Do you have a traffic ticket or DUI/DWI that you need handled? Get a lawyer that’s licensed in both Illinois and Missouri. Call: 314.499.4040

“Have you been drinking tonight?”: Understanding the Impact of your Answers to Police Officer Questions During a Traffic Stop was last modified: March 12th, 2016 by Joel Beckwith

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