Question: I was with some friends watching the University of Georgia game and having a couple of beers. After the game we all went to a bar and had a few more drinks. I was the designated-driver so I only had a couple of light beers and then I drove everyone home. But as I was driving home I took an illegal U-turn and a Gwinnett police officer saw me do it. He said he saw everything.
When I got stopped the cop said he could smell alcohol and marijuana in the car and asked me to get out of the vehicle, which I did. I did his tests and I told him that I only had two beers, but I actually had more than that. The cop was asking me some questions trying to trick me and I admitted to taking a couple of shots and smoking pot. I don't know why I told him that. I said I had some tequila shots and some homegrown weed.
Finally he arrested me and charged me with DUI and now I have to go to court. I'm pretty pissed that the cop would try to trick me into admitting things. So I need to know if a cop can trick you and I'd like to know what court I have to go to.
C.R. in Lawrenceville, GA
Answer: As DUI lawyers we are asked rather frequently if a law enforcement official can ask a “trick” or “misleading” question. The answer is yes, they can. In fact, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that a police officer can ask a “trick” question when speaking with a suspect. Be aware that many cops use this tactic because it is very effective.
As for what court your case will be heard in, that depends. But most likely it will be in the Gwinnett County Recorder's Court. You didn't mention if this is a first DUI or not. If it is a fourth DUI charge, however, then it is a felony. If it is a felony then the case will be heard in Superior Court.
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