What Happens in a DUI Traffic Stop?

I like to explain to clients that the details of what takes place when they’re stopped for driving under the influence are very important. It’s important because they can assist their case by recalling all of the details since they’re going to be the only source of information that an attorney can have when they go to defend the client. The information that the police may have, and the police have a specific report in which they write everything down that they have done, sometimes glosses over or omits some significant details. When a police officer stops you for driving under the influence, many times they won’t say exactly why they stopped you. That doesn’t mean that you can ask every question under the sun, but you can politely ask why you were stopped.

The officer will approach the vehicle and he’ll have several things in mind. One would be the traffic basis for the stop, the other might be that given the time of evening there might be a suspicion that driving under the influence could be a fact. Therefore, he’ll want to observe you closely, see what your appearance looks like, are your clothes in order? When you speak to the officer is your speech slurred? Can he smell the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from you? He may ask you to exit the vehicle. Don’t get out of the vehicle until the officer asks you, but when you do, you then follow the officer’s instructions as best you can.

If you have anything that would impede you in taking any type of agility tests or walk and turn or anything like that, make sure that you tell the officer. If you have a bad knee, if you suffer from any type of illness that causes you to be unsteady, you want to make sure that you tell the officer that. Of course, the officer will ask you certain questions about where you’ve been, what you’ve been drinking, and those sorts of things. You don’t’ want to exaggerate; you don’t want to underplay things. You can choose not to answer any questions. That’s perfectly permissible.

The officer can still go forward with a driving under the influence charge, but he won’t have statements from you where you exaggerated something that he can point to later and say, “That person was lying to me,” when, in fact, you didn’t consider it to be a lie, but rather you were trying to just make yourself look good. It’s very important to be truthful and accurate when the officer stops you.

The law firm of Mattleman, Weinroth & Miller, P.C., is composed of experienced criminal defense attorneys throughout the state of Delaware. Please contact the office for a free initial consultation and get any questions answered regarding criminal charges and procedures.