Dec 15

What Not To Do When Stopped for DUI


Being stopped by the police is stressful, and people under stress don’t always make the best decisions. Case in point: a man in Iowa City this year tried to evade DUI charges by chowing down on toilet paper. According to Iowa City Police, the man had been driving the wrong way down a one-way street and appeared very confused when arrested. The toilet paper trick was his last-ditch effort to soak up the alcohol to help him pass the breath test back at the police station.

Unfortunately for him, this scheme both failed and made the news. If you’re stopped on suspicion of DUI, don’t follow this man’s lead. Here are a few more tips of things to avoid when stopped for DUI.

Don’t Lose Your Cool When Pulling Over

Seeing flashing lights in your rearview mirror can be a source of panic, but it’s important to remain calm and make sure you operate your vehicle safely when pulling over. Erratic driving behavior will be used against you, so be sure to slow your vehicle and look for a safe place to stop for the officer. It’s a good idea to use your hazard lights to signal compliance to the police while you’re looking for a place to safely stop. Try to pull over as promptly as possible to avoid sending the signal that you are attempting to flee or elude the police.

Don’t Scramble for Documents—Keep Them Handy

Once the officer approaches your vehicle, you’ll be asked to produce your driver’s license, registration, and insurance. The officer will likely try to engage you in conversation after asking for your documents in an attempt to do what’s called “divided attention testing.” This simply means that the officer wants to gauge how difficult it is for you to complete the task of finding those documents while your attention is divided with conversation—often a difficult task while intoxicated. Keeping those documents in an easy-to-reach place is always a good idea.

Don’t Incriminate Yourself

The officer will ask you if you’ve been drinking, or if you’re under the influence of any drugs. You are obligated to answer basic identifying questions, like name and address, but you do not have to answer questions like these. The question of whether you’ve been drinking is only designed to elicit an incriminating response—admitting to any amount of drinking will not prevent you from getting arrested, even if you feel you’re admitting to a minimal amount.