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People are often their own worst enemies during DUI stops

Many people fastidiously avoid breaking the law. Most drivers have never had a confrontation with law enforcement professionals other than perhaps a traffic stop that resulted in a ticket. If a police officer pulls someone over due to suspicions of chemical intoxication, the interactions during that traffic stop are very different than an encounter involving speeding or a burned-out tail brake light.

A police officer trying to build the case for driving under the influence (DUI) charges wants to put together as much proof that someone broke the law as possible. The average motorist could very well be their own worst enemy during a DUI traffic stop.

Officers ask leading questions

Many police officers begin a traffic stop by inquiring about where someone has been or where they intend to go. Technically, drivers are under no obligation to volunteer details about their plans or personal conduct before an arrest, and they have the right to remain silent after an arrest.

Rules of social politeness make people feel as though they have to answer any questions an officer asks. In some cases, they may even volunteer details that put them at risk of enhanced screening. The driver might immediately volunteer that they have had a few drinks but not enough to affect their ability.

Everything that someone says to a police officer can potentially contribute to the state’s case against them. Drivers have the option of minimizing their speech and letting their documents provide a police officer with most of the information they need.

Testing isn’t always mandatory

Another way that people put themselves at a disadvantage during a traffic stop is by agreeing to unnecessary testing. Police officers need to have very strong suspicions to justify compelling someone to perform a chemical test.

However, they might ask someone to voluntarily submit to testing when they don’t have the necessary evidence to force someone to perform a test. People can often decline field sobriety test requests. They can also decline chemical tests until a police officer has gathered enough evidence to justify their arrest. People who understand their rights may have an easier time saying no to requests during the traffic stop or saying as little as possible for their own protection.

With that said, someone facing a DUI charge may need help reviewing the state’s case to prepare to fight those charges. The earlier in a traffic stop that people invoke and use their rights, the less likely they are to be at a marked disadvantage if they end up facing criminal charges later.