- Have you been drinking?
- Were you driving?
- Have you had anything to drink since you drove?
The reason for the first question seems fairly obvious. Unfortunately most people tend to answer by saying something like “I only had a couple of beers” or something to that effect. This may not be such a good answer. Police sometimes joke that at the academy, that “I only had a couple of drinks” translates to “automatic arrest.” If you answered this way, it is not the end of the world, and there is a lot your Washington, DC DUI defense attorney may be able do to help your situation, but I say, if it doesn’t work on the TV show COPS, don’t expect it work if you’re pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving.
The second question asked during a Washington, DC DWI arrest is, “were you driving?” The reason they are asking this seemingly stupid question is because one of the elements necessary to convict a defendant on a DUI charge is that you were operating a motor vehicle. If you admit to driving, they can use that as probable cause for the arrest and proof at trial.
The third question you will be asked if pulled over for a DUI in Washington, DC is some variation of “have you had anything to drink since you have been driving or since I pulled you over?” This sounds like a very strange question. The reason they ask it is because if you chugged a beer after being pulled over, than you could argue that you weren’t drinking while driving, you drank after driving. Please do not try this, as it most likely will not work and probably will cause more harm than good.
When taken together, answering yes to all three questions establishes this following:
- You have been drinking
- You have been driving
- You must have been drinking before driving.
In other words, you have admitted to the elements required to prove a DC DUI charge. If you are reading this blog because you have been charged with a DWI or DUI, don’t give up. In fact, most prospective clients I speak with have answered yes to all three questions. There is a lot that an experienced attorney can do to help. Always remember that an arrest is not a conviction.