“How Many Drinks Did You Have Tonight?” Do I Have to Answer?

September 18, 2019

If you are planning to enjoy a night out with your friends in Houston, it’s vital to assign a designated driver before it’s time to return home or migrate to another establishment. Sometimes, people forget how necessary this preparation is, and they decide to drive themselves home. One of the most common questions a police officer will ask during a traffic stop is, “How many drinks did you have tonight?” Do you have to answer this question? This article will provide clear guidance on whether you have to answer this question, as well as what to do when pulled over for suspected DWI in Houston.


Do Not Answer Directly

houston dwi lawyerThe short answer is that you should not answer the officer’s question directly. Why? Answering this inquiry can be seen as an admission of guilt, even if you say you’ve only consumed a couple of drinks. For one, the officer isn’t going to believe that you only had a couple of drinks, and secondly, he or she will then begin administering field sobriety tests to determine your intoxication level for DWI in Texas. Once the officer smells the odor of alcohol and asks you to step out of the car, his mind is made up and you are going to be arrested. It is best not to give them any information that could be used against you. You won’t talk your way out of this traffic stop, unfortunately.


How to Answer Appropriately

If you do decide to answer the officer’s request, be sure to give an appropriate response. Tell the officer you do not feel comfortable answering any questions without your attorney’s advice. Ask them if you can call our office. Nine times out of 10, the officer will deny this request. If that is the case, politely invoke your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and your Sixth Amendment right to have an attorney present when answering questions. This response may seem a little extreme, but we are technically operating right now under the idea that the officer is investigating you in accordance with Texas DWI laws for drinking and driving.


What Are the Consequences of Saying Yes or No?

So, what are the consequences of answering this question with a Yes or No response? If you say, “Yes,” you will undergo field sobriety tests and a breath test. There’s a slight (but almost zero) chance that the officer might release you if you blow less than 0.08. However, do you want to take that chance?

texas dwi laws

If you say, “No,” to the question or decline to answer, then the officer will not necessarily place you under arrest immediately. It shows the officer that you understand your rights, and you are aware of your ability to have an attorney present when asked questions. Pleading the Fifth after having a conversation with the officer could be seen as an admission of guilt. A Supreme Court case determined exactly that in Salinas v. Texas. The United States Supreme Court found that subjects who invoke their Fifth Amendment right to remain silent when under questioning by officers could have that invocation used as evidence against them.


Arrested for DWI in Texas? Consult a DWI Defense Attorney

If you were arrested and charged with DWI in Texas, you must seek legal representation. The experienced criminal defense attorneys from Flood & Associates can answer all of your questions and help build a defense against the charges. Never fight these charges alone. Call our office in Houston at 713-224-5529 today to schedule a consultation and employ a winning group of attorneys in your corner.



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