Dealing with Officers in a DUI Stop

Let me be clear: no matter what you remember learning on Leave it to Beaver, a Montana police officer who has stopped you on suspicion of DUI is not your friend. He is not trying to help you. And, you should not do anything to make his job easier (unless it benefits you). The officer’s job is to collect enough evidence to justify an arrest and ultimately convict you at trial. He may be very friendly about doing this. He may act like he is only trying to be helpful. He is not. He is doing his job, plain and simple. A salesman sells things, a barber cuts hair, and a police officer arrests people.

That being said, it is very important that you be polite, courteous, and respectful. Believe it or not, being a huge jerk to a police officer is a great way to make things must worse for yourself (no matter what your situation was to begin with). This does not mean that you must be helpful however, Never volunteer information. You MUST provide your name, driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance. You do not need to answer questions about how much you have had to drink, or whether you have consumed any illegal drugs.

Whether or not you have been read your Miranda rights, you ALWAYS have the right to an attorney. You also have the right to remain silent. Not all traffic stops rise to the level of a “custodial interrogation” meaning that officers do not always have to read you your rights. But whether or not you have been read your rights, you always have your rights. Don’t be afraid to invoke them. Ask for an attorney. Tell the officer you intend to remain silent. These are your rights under the Montana Constitution and Federal Constitution.

You should be polite, but that doesn’t mean helping the officer make a case against you.

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