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Either Tell the Truth or Remain Silent

Posted by Neil Shouse | Oct 04, 2010 | 0 Comments

The cops have just pulled you over because they suspect you are driving under the influence. In order to investigate their suspicion, they begin to ask you a series of questions. The preliminary questions are designed to identify you. The police ask for your driver's license, insurance, registration, etc. Although you may be inclined to give a false name, say you don't have your license on you (when you really do), or give any other false or misleading information in an attempt to escape criminal liability, don't do it!

And when the cops being asking you questions about your evening…were you drinking, how much were you drinking, when were you drinking, etc. you may be tempted to tell the officers that you haven't had anything to drink (when in reality you had a least a couple of beers). As difficult as it may be, resist that temptation! You have the right to remain silent – exercise that right. But if for some reason you are compelled to talk, be honest because if you're not…and that fact can be proven…you subject yourself to further criminal charges.

Vehicle Code 31 VC California's law against providing an officer with false information is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a maximum $1,000 fine. Prosecutors can technically charge you with Vehicle Code 31 VC California's law against providing an officer with false information anytime you do just that…knowingly make a false statement to an officer engaged in the performance of his/her duties.

So, please – comply with the officer's request and provide the appropriate identifying information. And then, politely advise the officer that you wish to remain silent. Your silence can only help you…false statements can come back to haunt you. Read our article about when you have the right to remain silent in California.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.

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