It May Seem Like the Honorable Thing to Do, But Confessing to a DUI Can Negatively Affect Your Chances in Court

A surprising number of people, when they are pulled over by the police on suspicion of DUI, immediately say something like “I've had a few drinks” or “I'm sorry, officer, I know I'm drunk and I shouldn't have gotten behind the wheel of my car.” This may qualify as honorable behavior—if you did, in fact, foolishly choose to drive after drinking—but it won't really make any difference to the arresting officer, who will still subject you to a battery of tests before hauling you into the police station and booking you on a DUI charge.

A Confession Won't Result in Easier Treatment by the Virginia Police

The main reason people are inclined to confess to a DUI—over and above the fact that they're drunk, and not able to martial the best judgment—is that they believe this will elicit more sympathetic treatment from the arresting officer. This may well be the case, but it's certainly not something you should count on. Depending on the officer's mood that day, he may or may not be impressed by your self-incrimination.

More to the point, even if you confess up front to driving drunk, the officer will still administer the standard battery of DUI tests, including:

  • A sobriety test, in which he asks you to walk in a straight line, balance on one foot, etc.
  • A preliminary breath test (what most people call a “breathalyzer”)
  • If you fail the preliminary breath test, a more accurate blood test at police headquarters

Why would the officer go through all this effort? Well, you may choose to rescind your confession at a later date, or your lawyer may succeed in having it dismissed, and the state will still need solid evidence to back up its claim of drunk driving. It would be a very naïve (not to mention poorly trained) officer who arrests you for DUI just on your say-so, without performing the legally required tests!

Even if You Confess to a DUI, You Can Still Be Aided by an Experienced Lawyer

From the vantage point of a criminal trial, or a hearing before a judge, a confession to a DUI muddies the waters for your defense attorney, who may find it more difficult to mount a convincing defense. What's important to remember is that confessing to a DUI may seem admirable, but it can greatly prejudice your chances in front of a judge or jury—and besides, the arresting officer doesn't particularly care if you confess or not, as long as you look, talk, and “test” drunk. Questions? Call the Virginia DUI lawyers at Jarrell, Hicks & Waldman, PC (888-783-9701) for a free consultation today!