Under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, all criminal defendants--including those charged with driving under the influence (DUI)--have the "right to remain silent" when questioned by police.
This right to remain silent applies whether you:
- Have been pulled over for DUI,
- Are being investigated for DUI (e,g., through field sobriety tests), or
- Have been arrested for DUI.
In fact, in certain situations law enforcement officers are required to remind you of your right to remain silent (and to hire an attorney) by reading you your "Miranda rights." So-called Miranda warnings are required in DUI cases when both of the following are true:
- You have been placed under arrest for DUI; and
- An officer intends to begin a custodial interrogation of you (that is, ask you questions designed to elicit incriminating responses).
Despite the right to remain silent for California DUI defendants, there are some situations in which you may not refuse a request by police. For example, you must display your license and registration and answer questions posed by officers at DUI sobriety checkpoints.
Also, once you have been placed under arrest on suspicion of DUI, you may not refuse to take a DUI blood or breath test. (If you do, you will face additional penalties for DUI chemical test refusal.)