A Former Prosecutor Defending Clients in Wyoming and South Dakota
We are all familiar with the phrase “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.”
But have you ever wondered what, exactly, your right to remain silent means? The law on this issue is confusing, and it can be difficult to determine what you can and cannot do if you are being arrested. During the trauma of being arrested and charged with a crime, it’s easy to forget your rights and how to assert them, especially if you are suspected of a DWUI.
By remaining calm, you can take valuable steps to invoke your right to remain silent that could improve your chances of avoiding a conviction for a Wyoming DWUI.
When people are stopped and suspected of a DWUI in Wyoming, one of the first mistakes they make is to give too much information. It’s important to understand that, from the moment they stop you, police officers are trying to get as much information as possible. They want to know where you’re going, where you’re coming from, and what you’ve had to drink.
It’s important that you answer these questions carefully, because what you say could impact your case later.
Of course, it’s human nature to want to cooperate. But the police are writing everything down. Sometimes it’s on video. And they’re using all of it to build their case against you. That’s why it’s a good idea to limit, as much as possible, what you say to police officers. Give the minimum necessary: name, driver’s license, proof of insurance.
If you have been arrested for a DWUI in Wyoming, remember the following:
You have the constitutional right to remain silent during an arrest. But practically speaking, it’s often best to say something. By remaining cooperative yet saying as little as possible, you reduce the chance of being arrested – especially if you aren’t under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
You may have seen YouTube videos about people who use a DWUI placard – a short form that says “I remain silent. No searches. I want my lawyer.” While constitutionally legal, the use of these placards is likely to attract unwanted attention. If you are not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, using a sign like this will probably cause you to be arrested, most likely for obstruction of justice.
If you are stopped and show the police a placard invoking your constitutional rights, you’re going to attract attention. The police will be more likely to investigate you, aggressively, and there’s a good chance you’ll be arrested. Ironically, by not speaking at all, you may create reasonable suspicion which could prompt the officer to detain you and investigate further.
If you’ve been stopped but haven’t been placed under arrest, some minimal comment such as “Officer, I don’t wish to discuss the matter,” is usually best. This makes clear that you have acknowledged the police officer’s presence, but don’t wish to discuss the matter. Likewise, if a police officer asks if you know how fast you were going, you can simply say “Yes.”
On the other hand, if the police ask you to get out of the car, it’s likely that things are going downhill, and fast. Remain firm, but cooperative. Politely tell the officer that you are invoking your right to remain silent, that you do not consent to a search of your vehicle, and that you refuse to perform Field Sobriety Tests.
If you’ve been charged with DWUI in Wyoming, you need a team of skilled criminal defense professionalswho have years of experience defending people charged with DWUI.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is offered for educational purposes only. This information is not offered as legal advice. A person accused of a crime should always consult with an attorney before making decisions that have legal consequences.