Do I Have a Right to Remain Silent at a California DUI Stop?

July 30, 2020

You can — and should — exercise your right to remain silent if you are stopped for a DUI.

Do I Have a Right to Remain Silent at a California DUI Stop?

If you are a fan of crime dramas, you are probably familiar with Miranda rights. Named after a United States Supreme Court case, Miranda rights involve a reading a number of constitutional rights to suspects in criminal cases. You may even be able to recite many of these rights: such as the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. But do these rights apply in all situations?

To be clear, the police only have to advise a suspect of their Miranda rights when you are in police custody and being interrogated. Even so, these rights still exist — and you can exercise these rights when appropriate. This includes the right to remain silent. According to a DUI defense lawyer in Riverside, CA, even when you are stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs (DUI), you have the right to not provide more information than is necessary.

In m any cases, if you are stopped for a DUI, the police officer will start to ask you questions, like “Where have you been? Where are you doing?” They may also ask if you have had anything to drink — or how much you have had to drink. These questions serve an important purpose for law enforcement. Beyond trying to get you to admit that you have been drinking, the questions get you talking. And that gives the officer a way to assess you for signs of intoxication. Are your words slurred? Does your breath have an odor of alcohol?

Police officers do not have to inform you of your right to remain silent when they simply stopped on suspicion of DUI. In most cases, questioning during a DUI does not rise to the level of custodial interrogation. But during these stops, you still have a Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination — which gives you the right to remain silent.


So what should you do during a DUI stop if a police officer starts to ask you questions? The best choice, as a DUI defense lawyer in Riverside, CA can explain, is to exercise your right to remain silent. Remain calm and polite, and provide the necessary information, such as your name. Beyond that, you should say nothing unless it is to clearly invoke your right to remain silent.

While you may still be arrested for a DUI if you remain silent, it won’t be because of what you said or because you gave the police an opportunity to gather evidence against you by talking. By invoking your right to remain silent, you may reduce the likelihood of being arrested — and give yourself a better chance of a favorable outcome if you are arrested.

If you have been charged with a California DUI, the Chambers Law Firm can help. To learn more or to schedule a free initial consultation with a DUI defense lawyer in Riverside, CA, contact us today at 855-397-0210 or info@orangecountyduifirm.com.

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