If defense attorneys had their way, officers would be required to give Miranda warnings immediately following the stop, rather than the arrest.
The investigating officer would be required to tell you, up front, that the purpose of their questions was to develop enough probable cause to arrest you, that you didn’t have to cooperate, and that, while you should be polite, you probably shouldn’t cooperate.
It’s totally ok to politely inquire whether the officer is asking you to do something or ordering you to do it. You must obey orders, but you don’t have to comply with requests. Many officers use tone, expression, and/or other tricks of intimidation to make you feel like it’s in your best interest to cooperate; don’t be coerced to give up more than you have to!
Assume that you are going to be arrested, and that nothing you do or say will change that. In fact, anything you do or say will be twisted to sound way worse, and just make the prosecutor’s job easier – and your attorney’s job more difficult.
In an ideal world (from a defense perspective), a DUI stop would go something like this:
Officer: “Do you know why I stopped you? Wait- you don’t have to answer that question. In fact, answering that question is probably a bad idea, because I will use whatever you say to prove that the stop was valid in case your attorney tries to challenge the stop later. If you say yes, you do know why I stopped you, I will consider this an admission of guilt – at least as to a traffic infraction. Your attorney would almost certainly tell you to say: ‘no, I don’t know why you stopped me.’ But go ahead and tell me anything you want to. But, remember: you don’t have to, it’s totally up to you.” [Read more…]