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Conway Criminal Law Blog

If a Police Officer Asks Me If I Have Been Drinking, What Should I Say?

If you’ve been pulled over by the police under suspicion of DUI, there is absolutely no reason to volunteer information about what you were up to prior. But if the officer specifically asks if you’ve been drinking, you need to keep in mind that it is a crime to lie to the police. In other words, it’s a tricky situation. If you’re facing a DUI charge, you need the skilled legal guidance of an experienced Marion, South Carolina, DUI defense attorney in your corner.

It’s a Crime to Lie to the Police

If you hadn’t been drinking when you were pulled over by the police, feel free to honestly respond with no, I haven’t had a drink. If, on the other hand, you had a glass or two of wine with dinner before getting back in your car and heading home, it’s a different matter entirely. You may know that you’re perfectly capable of driving safely but saying that you haven’t had a drink is also a lie.

At this juncture, you have the right to say that – under the advice of your attorney – you won’t be fielding any questions. Saying that you hadn’t been drinking may inspire the police to offer you a breathalyzer test and take you in and saying that you had a glass of wine with dinner could amount to probable cause for arresting you for DUI, or at the very least, cause the officer to conduct a full investigation for DUI, including requesting Field Sobriety tests.

It’s a conundrum, and if you find yourself in this situation, you’ll need to balance your options. One approach you shouldn’t take, however, is lying to the police.

The Breathalyzer Test

If the police have reason to believe you’ve been drinking – regardless of what you tell them – they’re very likely to offer you a breathalyzer test. If you blow over .08 percent BAC or blood alcohol concentration, there is an inference that you are under the influence and it almost certainly means an automatic arrest for DUI. However, even if your reading is lower than this legal threshold, the police can arrest you for DUI if they believe that your ability to drive safely was significantly affected by your consumption of alcohol.

Refusing a Breathalyzer Test

When you avail yourself of the privilege of driving in South Carolina, you give implied consent to have your BAC tested – when the right conditions are met. While you do have the right to refuse a breathalyzer test, doing so is unlikely to work in your favor. At this point, the police can take you to the station to test you, and your refusal comes with an automatic driver’s license suspension. However, if you provide a sample AND it is above-the legal inference level (0.08%), you will have provided evidence that WILL be used against you.  The police can even charge you with Driving with an Unlawful Alcohol Concentration (DUAC) which carries substantially the same penalties as DUI. 

Reach Out to an Experienced Marion, South Carolina, DUI Defense Attorney

The formidable Marion, South Carolina, DUI defense attorneys at The Law Office of Brad C. Richardson understand how limited your options are if you’re pulled over for DUI, and we’re committed to launching your strongest defense in response. The consequences of a conviction are too serious to ignore, so please don’t delay contacting us online or calling 843-488-4321 for more information today.