Should I Tell a Police Officer that I’ve Been Drinking?

Getting pulled over is a scary situation for anyone, especially if you’ve been drinking. You may feel panicked, even if you’ve only had one drink. When the officer approaches your car, chances are that if you’ve been drinking, you are going to smell like alcohol. So when the officer asks you if you’ve been drinking, what do you do?

The truth of the matter is that you have options. You can tell the officer that you have been drinking. Or, you can tell the officer that you have not had any alcohol. Or, you can tell the officer that you would rather not say. Each of these options will come with consequences and has pros and cons.

Lying to an Officer

This decision could have consequences if it is revealed that you have been drinking. If you choose to tell an officer that you have not been drinking even though you have, it can damage your credibility, especially if your case goes to court. The breathalyzer will most likely be accurate and discredit your story. This will look extremely bad to a judge and jury.

Telling the Truth

When being honest, you can tell the officer that you have had one or two drinks. If such is the case and you’ve waited an hour or two before driving then chances are you are within the legal limits. This means that you have explained the aroma of alcohol and are not in the wrong. However, if you had actually had six drinks then you should not tell the officer you have had less than that. Admitting that you have consumed alcohol may encourage an officer to give you a field sobriety test to ensure that you are telling the truth.

Remaining Silent

If you don’t wish to be honest with the officer, then choosing to remain silent is your best bet. You should comply with the officer’s wishes such as giving the officer your license and registration. However if they ask you a direct question about alcohol you would be best off saying something along the lines of, “I’d rather not say.” This way you are not lying to the officer. Instead, you exercise your right to remain silent and not incriminate yourself by speaking too much. If you choose to take this route, be sure to remain respectful to not create a resentful situation on either side. In many cases, this is the best option.

The Help That You Need

If you are pulled over and have been drinking, you should avoid lying to the police officer. Being dishonest will destroy your credibility in a court of law. If you don’t wish to tell the officer you’ve been drinking then you do not have to, simply tell the officer that you do not wish to say. If you are pulled over, don’t panic, it is not the end of the world and you will get through it! Feel free to contact me for further assistance.


My name is Teresa, and I am a DUI lawyer, but that is only part of who I am. I have been practicing law in Connecticut since 2006.


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