- posted: Nov. 25, 2014
As kids we were taught to cooperate with the police by our parents and in school. If we all obeyed the police so many of society's problems would not have occurred.
However, as a general rule talking to anyone, other than your lawyer, on any legal matter cannot help a case. It can only POTENTIALLY HURT the case and handcuff you. It is not always what you say, but often what the other party thought they heard you say. This is as true for a DUI as it is for an accident case or a business negotiation.
If the police or an insurance adjuster want to talk to you, do so ONLY with your lawyers permission. This is because it is often what someone THOUGHT THEY HEARD YOU SAY.
We have all misunderstood others or we do not jot down what is said at the time but rather do so later when our memory may not be perfect. The police often go back to the station and prepare a report from their notes. Sometimes they cannot read their own handwriting and get the facts backwards as to who should be arrested or who caused an auto accident.
In the last few months I have had officers get the facts of an accident backward so that my rear ended client was listed as at fault. I have also had a friend in an accident get a doctor's report saying he fell and hit his head on a rock when he hit his head from the accident.
Today I met with a client who has been handling her accident case for a year. She submitted her doctor's report with an MRI showing there was an injury and the doctor mistakenly reading it saying there was no injury. A good lawyer would never have submitted the report without noting the mistake and asking the doctor to review his notes to correct it.
That is why I ask my accident clients to make a list from the top of their head to the bottom of their toes as to what hurts them. I suggest they give that same summary to each medical provider for continuity.
With the average criminal case an officer calls you or approaches you and asks for your side of the story. He says he just wants your version and sounds reasonable, so you mistakenly talk to him. As a rule when the police want to talk to you, or a defense adjuster wants to talk to you, they are not doing so to help you...they are not your friend.
A detective will not believe you until you confess to the crime he is investigating. It does not make any difference what you say, you will probably be arrested. As a rule the officer has evidence that implicates you...even if you did not commit the crime. This is just as true for a DUI as it is a Domestic Violence.
With a possible DUI, the impaired driver usually makes many mistakes. They are not aware, unless they read my weekly legal columns, that the Field Sobriety and Breath Test at the scene are optional. Thus you do not have to take the walk the line, finger to nose, alphabet and other field sobriety tests. Likewise the breath test at the scene (unless you are on probation) is optional.
A driver stopped and offered DUI tests should be cooperative and politely state their attorney is Dale Gribow who advised you remain silent until they call me at 760-565-0533. That way you remain the Good Guy and the Lawyer is the Fall Guy.
They won't call me, but it gives you an excuse for remaining silent and makes ME the bad guy and not you. If a lawyer represents a client properly, the lawyer should always be the "strawman" and take the fall for the client.
The potential defendant should explain "they understand Field Sobriety and Breath Tests at the scene are optional. If that is correct Mr. Officer, then I elect not to take them. Then explain that they are happy to cooperate with law enforcement and take a blood test."