What are police looking for at DUI stop?

Most people know that .08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is the legal limit for Driving While Intoxicated. It is important to remember that Driving Under the Influence does not just include alcohol or illegal drugs.

You could be arrested for a DUI if you took an over-the-counter medication and exhibit signs of impairment while on the road. What are signs that a driver may be impaired?

* Wide radius turn
* Driving down center of road
* Almost hitting another automobile or object
* Weaving
* Driving off of the road/ driving on sidewalk
* Driving too slow or too fast for the road
* Coming to a stop on the road for no reason
* Following another vehicle too closely
* Drifting
* Pumping brakes erratically
* Driving into oncoming traffic lanes
* Delayed response to traffic signs and signals
* Abrupt turns that are legal or illegal
* Speeding up or slowing down rapidly
* Driving with headlights off

Any of these driving actions may give an officer the legal right to stop you. As the police officer conducts the traffic stop, he will be looking for certain indications that you have been drinking or you are under the influence of some kind of drug.

What signs do police look for when they pull you over?

The most common behavior or outward appearance of someone who is under the influence is the odor of alcohol on their breath, bloodshot and/or watery eyes, and slurred speech. These are commonly referred to as the ‘big 3’ by police officers. Their own reports ask them to list their observations in those specific areas.

The typical symptoms of intoxication that police officers are trained to look for are:

* Flushed face
* Smell of alcohol on breath or in vehicle
* Bloodshot eyes and/or watery, glassy eyes
* Slurring words
* Mishandling wallet while trying to get license out
* Unsteady while getting out of the car
* Cannot understand simple questions or commands by police officer
* Unstable/swaying while standing
* Inappropriate attitude while talking with police (argumentative, belligerent, or jolly/cheery)
* Dirty, disheveled, or rumpled clothing and/or appearance
* Incomprehension of time or location
* Failure to follow directions

If I am stopped by police, what should I do?

You should always behave respectfully with police officers. If you feel like you may be at risk for a DUI, politely offer the officer your license, registration and proof of vehicle insurance, then tell the officer that you would like to speak with a DUI attorney. Do not answer any other questions, admit to anything, or take the field sobriety tests.

Contrary to what the officer may tell you, you have the right to protect yourself against incriminating statements by staying quiet. Many times, police get all the information they need to arrest and charge someone with DUI by using their own statements against them. Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is always a bad idea, but if you find yourself pulled over by police, there are ways to protect yourself.

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Beth

Beth L. is a content developer for LeadRival, a cutting edge company that helps connect DUI lawyers with DUI clients. Beth L. writes about a variety of DUI topics to help drivers who have been arrested for DUI, getting them the legal help they need.

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