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Be wary of police officer questioning in a Maryland DUI stop

On Behalf of | Sep 11, 2023 | Drunk Driving

When a police officer approaches your vehicle during a stop on suspicion of DUI, they may ask friendly-sounding questions. It may seem they are merely trying to set you at ease, but their queries usually have another purpose.

Many Maryland police departments follow an investigative process promoted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that involves three phases of alcohol detection. Knowing more about the question-and-answer phase may help you avoid saying something that could increase police suspicion.

Navigating the personal contact phase

The first phase of detection occurs when the police observe your driving behavior. If the officers establish reasonable suspicion of drunk driving, they will stop your car and move to phase two, personal contact.

The police will evaluate your sobriety, typically looking for bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, alcohol odor and other intoxication indicators. While conducting the personal contact phase, officers often ask questions designed to divide your attention. Below are two examples of this technique:

  • They may pose simultaneous questions or requests to see if you can follow directions without fumbling or forgetting anything. For example, they may request your insurance documents and, while you are retrieving them, abruptly ask for your driver’s license.
  • They may ask disruptive or unusual queries while you are following their instructions. For example, they might ask you for your zip code or middle name to see how well you handle unexpected questions when performing other tasks.

When you know what police officers might ask or say in a traffic stop, you are prepared to respond appropriately, possibly reducing your risk of a DUI arrest.

What if it’s too late?

Consider speaking with a legal representative if this information comes too late to help you avoid DUI charges. Together, you can study the details of your arrest, possibly finding a way to overcome or minimize your situation.