What not to do when Pulled over for Driving while Intoxicated

Being involved in police work has granted me valuable insight into the procedure and mindset of an officer while he or she is in the process of pulling over and inspecting an individual that is intoxicated. Driving away without a DWI or DUI is unlikely, and difficult to achieve, more so for a DWI. However, it is definitely possible.

The first thing officers will look at while pulling you over is simply your positioning on the road. Make sure to pull over to the correct side of the road – that is, the side that correlates with the traffic flow- and park well. Do not park with your wheels turned any way but forward, or with your car angled any way but forward, otherwise the officer’s suspicion will heighten. The next thing a police officer will look for is suspicious items, and even the neatness inside the vehicle while he approaches your window. Having bottles and garbage strewn all over the car causes an immediate bias in the officer’s mind. The police are used to dealing with “dirt bags” and often assume that someone with a dirty and unorganized car is more likely to be doing something wrong.

Before the officer reaches your window, even before he exits his squad car, have your license and insurance information in your hand so that you, as the intoxicated person, do not fumble for each item and increase the chances of alerting the officer. One of the most commonly observed signs of intoxication is the driver’s inability to effectively find his license and insurance information in a decent amount of time. Hence, having the information in your hand will reduce the chance of an officer becoming suspicious of your condition.

When the police officer finally reaches your window, make sure that while in the process of handing over your license and simply sitting in the car, your eye contact with the officer does not exist, and that you speak as minimally and as simply as possible. Make sure to be courteous, but not overly polite, otherwise the officer may think you have a reason for sucking up to him or her. Do not look at the officer, and do not say more than you have to. They use whatever light they can to check if your eyes are bloodshot or teary, and your speech is usually what gives away your intoxication. What you should do is look down if you must turn towards the officer, or simply look straight at or slightly to the right of the steering wheel if you are not turned towards the officer. Do not appear rigid or worried. A relaxed physical state gives the impression that you are not worried about anything, which will prevent the officer from sensing your secret. And while speaking to the police officer, focus on something such as the steering wheel so you are able to concentrate on maintaining a fluent speech pattern. If the officer asks why you think he pulled you over, all you have to say is that you were speeding or doing whatever it was that they pulled you over for. Honesty gains an officer’s trust, and because of that they are more likely to believe that anything you say in the future has a good probability of being true.

If he or she inquires about your drinking that day or night, never say you had a drink. Tell the officer you have not had anything to drink, and that you were just driving to some nearby location of your choice that is befitting of the time you were pulled over. For example, if you are pulled over at three in the morning, do not say you were driving to the store, or some other odd place. It is also important to have a reasonable place on mind that you were “leaving” from if the officer happens to ask where you were before driving. Try to choose places that are in opposite directions from each other, and are close to the roadway you are driving upon. Such a casual demeanor and believable response is likely to lead the officer to believe that you are simply driving to that location innocently. If the officer hands you a ticket instead of the dreaded breathalyzer, simply listen to what he has to say about payment and court dates, thank him or her politely, and drive away once the time is appropriate.

Depending on why you were pulled over, your chances of being caught for a DUI, or DWI especially, are still pretty high. By following the guidelines mentioned previously, your chances of being caught for driving while intoxicated are reduced significantly. It is obvious that an intoxicated person will not be able to follow all of the guidelines listed, however, even accomplishing one of the actions above is the difference between possible jail time, and driving home safely with no consequences aside from a minor roadway infraction ticket.