Welcome back to DUI Talk! In this edition, we will be discussing the Request for Admissions. Before the police ask you to complete any field sobriety tests, officers will ask you a few questions to determine whether or not you are impaired. By learning what to say and what not to say, you can avoid further incriminating yourself.
What is “Request for Admissions”?
Request for Admissions occurs when police officers approach your vehicle and begin asking you questions. You are probably familiar with this dialogue- officers may ask, “What have you been doing tonight?” or, “Have you had anything to drink?” This is the first stage of the police investigation, often preceding the Portable Breathalyzer Test and the Roadside Field Sobriety Tests.
Why is this Stage Important?
The best evidence is gathered during the Request for Admissions. During a traffic stop, police officers aim to gather probable cause in order to arrest you. If you tell the police that you have been drinking, you are giving the officer support for his or her reasonable suspicion.
More importantly, what you say is often the only factor that you can fully control during a DUI stop. You cannot prevent slurred speech, you cannot completely cover up the odor of alcohol, you cannot will yourself to execute field sobriety tests perfectly, and you cannot trick a blood test. Every piece of probable cause must be based on objective, identifiable information. If you answer correctly, you are reducing how much objective, identifiable information that you are providing the police.
The officer’s probable cause must be based on the totality of the circumstances- meaning, all factors are considered. Request for Admissions is the first stage of the investigation. By responding to this line of questioning correctly, you can control how much probable cause you give to the police.
What Should You Say?
Never, ever, ever admit to a police officer that you have been drinking when you are pulled over under suspicion of a DUI! You are not helping yourself by being cooperative, you are incriminating yourself. You will not make the police officer more sympathetic by being honest about drinking and then driving, you are providing evidence for your own arrest.
If an officer asks you if you have been drinking, say no. Do not say that you had been drinking earlier, or that you just drank a little. If a police officer asked you if you had done cocaine, you would not answer “a little”- the same goes for a DUI.
You do not have to incriminate yourself. You do not have to answer these questions in a way that will cause the police to have more reasonable suspicion, which will lead to probable cause for your arrest.
As always, be polite and respectful. Comply when necessary. Always protect yourself and your rights.
If you or a loved one have been charged with DUI, please contact the State College DUI attorneys at Rehmeyer & Allatt for a free consultation: 814-343-9860
Learn more about DUIs with our DUI Talk series: