DUI Stops: When Should You Plead the 5th?

Getting behind the wheel of a car can be a risky endeavor, even if you have had only a couple drinks. Texas highway patrol and law enforcement often look for what they believe to be tell tale signs of driving while intoxicated (DWI). Even if drivers believe they have not committed an infraction, law enforcement will use even the slightest false step against them.

Sometimes during a traffic stop, drivers may attempt to cooperate with police by answering questions which may unknowingly incriminate themselves. Going through a DWI stop or checkpoint can be an intimidating process and officers will often coerce testimony out of drivers on the stop to help make their case.

Fortunately for all Americans, the Constitution affords them the right to avoid making self-incriminating statements. Asserting these rights may be easier said than done and many times officers will insist on drivers answering the questions.

The Fifth Amendment

The United States Constitution specifically states that no person “shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…” What this means is under no circumstances can you be compelled to testify against yourself either in a court of law or while being questioned by police.

If you are pulled over by the police on suspicion of DWI, always plead the Fifth when answering any incriminating questions to the police. Even seemingly innocent questions like “Where are you going?” or “Do you know why you are being pulled over?” may be used by the police to make a case for DWI against you.

No matter how much officers insist you answer their questions, particularly those which may relate to consuming alcohol, do no answer. Always be polite and courteous to police but do not give them evidence against you. The more questions you answer, the easier it may be for prosecutors to convict you at trial or hold evidence over your head in potential negotiations for a plea deal.

You have the right to an attorney

At all times during police questioning, whether in a roadside stop or at a police station, you have the right to confer with an attorney before answering any questions. It is your attorney’s role to advise you and deal with police and prosecutors, let him or her perform this role for you and remain silent while in custody or during questioning.

Law enforcement and prosecutors do not always follow proper procedure and the Constitution and these mistakes may allow your attorney to suppress evidence before and during trial. Make sure you do not give the other side any more information than they need to make the case against you and refrain from answering any questions.

Kingwood, Texas DWI attorneys

The Law Office of Andrew J. Williams regularly represent the legal interests of people suspected of DWI in Texas. Our DWI attorneys have years of experience dealing with police, prosecutors, and judges in and out of the courtroom.

If you have been charged with DWI, you should strongly consider hiring the experienced and dedicated legal counsel of The Law Offices of Andrew J. Williams. Contact our firm for a consultation about your Texas DWI charge and take the first step toward justice.

Andrew Williams, an experienced attorney who can challenge evidence in a DWI case
About the Author: Andrew Williams
I am a criminal defense lawyer with over 20 years experience defending people accused of wrongdoing. I am board certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Only ten percent of attorneys in Texas are board certified in their respective field. I practice criminal law exclusively in both state and federal court including appeals of criminal cases.