The drunk driving lawyers at GRL Law routinely advise people what to do during a traffic stop.
For example, you should provide your license, registration and proof of insurance upon request. And, if the officer asks you to step out of your car, then follow those directions.
But when it comes to field sobriety tests, you can politely decline. A preliminary breath test? Sure, if they agree to show you the result.
However, there is one question that you should never answer at the roadside.
“So, on a scale of zero to ten, with zero being the most sober and ten the most impaired you’ve ever been, where are you on that scale right now?”
Don’t take the bait. It’s a trap!
If you give the officer any number above zero, then you are admitting to feeling the affects of any alcohol you consumed earlier. In the eyes of the officer, you are admitting to impairment.
Because you are not in custody at this point, the officer is not required to tell you ahead of time that anything you say will be used against you.
And the officer will absolutely use this information against you. Both at trial and your license revocation hearing. It becomes part of the officer’s “reasonable grounds” to believe you are impaired to get a sample of your breath.
What should you do instead?
You can politely decline to answer that question. Or get the officer to confirm that you are free to not answer. And then shut up.
Not only are you denying them incriminating information, you are also demonstrating that your reasoning and mental ability has not been affected by any alcohol. Exercising your legal rights further shows that your judgment is not impaired.