During a Police Stop, What Is the Officer Likely to do if He or She Suspects the Driver Is Impaired?

Interviewer: If someone in that position gets stopped by a police officer for an incomplete stop, what does a police officer say to them typically when they want to see if they’re under the influence? What happens during that process and what should the person say and do?

Brian Sloan: There may not be anything that the person can do. If an officer has a valid reason to do a traffic stop and they have reasonable suspicion to believe that some sort of traffic offense or crime has occurred, they’re allowed to pull a vehicle over, they’re allowed to approach that vehicle and ask for the license, registration and insurance.

Most usually, when the officer is standing there at the window and waiting for the license, registration and insurance, they will start engaging in a conversation.

Police Receive Training on Observing Signs of Possible Impairment from Drugs or Alcohol

They’ll ask the person how much they’ve had to drink. They may ask if they have ingested any drugs. They are looking for signs and symptoms that may be consistent with alcohol impairment or drug use, such as bloodshot and watery eyes, an odor of alcohol, an odor of burnt marijuana or fresh marijuana, to see if the person is slurring their speech, to see if the person can do two things at once.

Can they talk to the officer while looking for their registration in their glove box? Can they hold onto their license or are they having a hard time picking it up? These are all the things that officers are looking for to determine whether there is more to this stop than simply making a wide turn. The officer is looking for things that they can identify as reasonable suspicion to launch into a DUI investigation.

Should You Consent to a Search of Your Vehicle during a Police Stop?

Interviewer: Can they search the vehicle?

Brian Sloan: They’re not supposed to search a vehicle. The only way that they are really allowed to search a vehicle is because the suspect or the person that has been stopped consents to it.

If the person is arrested and they’re going to tow the vehicle, then they are allowed to do a search incident to arrest and basically a search for inventory procedures. When push comes to shove, if an officer wants to find a reason to search a vehicle, chances are they’ll find one.

If You Are Taking Prescribed Medication, Should You Mention This to the Officer during a Police Stop?

Interviewer: Have you noticed that if someone is on prescription medication, will they automatically admit to it right as soon as they’re questioned by the police officer immediately?

Brian Sloan: Sure. People are their own worst enemies. They admit to everything. If the officer is being friendly to them, they feel they need to be friendly back and be very open and honest with officers.

Chances are they were taught as a kid that honesty is the best policy and police officers are your friends, but they’re there to do a job. They’re there to collect evidence against you.

Frequently, people hurt their cases because they talked too much. They answered the officer’s question. They say what they’ve been taking, legal or illegally, how much they’ve taken, when they last took it; it doesn’t affect their ability to drive. Most of the evidence that the prosecutor will use against someone at trial is evidence the driver admitted to when talking to the officer.

By Brian Douglas Sloan

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Why Attorney Brian Douglas Sloan?
Phoenix DUI Lawyer

Why Attorney Brian Douglas Sloan?


18+ Years SOLELY Focused on DUI Defense


4,100+ DUIs Successfully Defended

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  • Only DUI "Power Lawyer" in the Nation Featured in USA Today, 2022

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“I am one of only a handful of Phoenix DUI Lawyers that focuses solely on DUI Defense representation.”

I have spent my entire career focused on DUI Defense representation, having personally defended more than 4,100+ DUI clients in the past 18+ years.

If you’re looking for a divorce attorney, tax attorney, or civil attorney, then I can comfortably say: "I’m not the one for you".

Coming up with traditional, as well as outside-the-box motions and defenses for my clients, often with good results, is the hallmark of my practice.

Lawyers that say they are "aggressive", or "will fight for you", are a dime a dozen. They use these phrases because that is what they think people want to hear. The truth of the matter is, being "aggressive" rarely gets the client anywhere in these court systems. Being "aggressive" isn’t the same as being good, and is often used to put on a show for a client to hide the fact that they aren’t doing anything meaningful for the client.

The same is true for the lawyers that claim to do DUI Defense... and Criminal Cases..., and Accident cases..., and Divorces. A Jack-of-all-Trades is a master of none. By handling all different sorts of cases, they take away from their ability to truly focus on DUIs, and keep up to date on the latest changes in DUI Defense Representation.

What I offer is intelligent, quality DUI Defense, at an exceptional price.

I am one of only a handful of Arizona DUI Lawyers that focuses solely on DUI Defense representation.

I have not only taught other lawyers how to do DUI Defense Representation at statewide seminars, but I produce DUI Legal Guides used by defense lawyers across Arizona.

I am one of the most award-winning DUI Defense Lawyers in Arizona; have been recognized nationally, including in a 2022 issue of USA Today; and there are only a few lawyers in Arizona who have personally defended more DUI cases than I have. I am also one of the most reasonably-priced DUI Lawyers, as I pride myself on charging a Flat Rate only for the legal services you need, and not for the legal services you don’t.

I am also the lawyer who people call once they realize that their original lawyer screwed something up, gave them false hope or false promises, or simply just took their money and didn’t do much on the case. You would be surprised at how often this happens.

Save yourself the trouble of hiring the wrong lawyer, and hire the right DUI Defense Lawyer from the start.

You can reach me on my personal cell phone: 480-720-7839.

Let me know if you have any questions!

Brian Douglas Sloan

DUI Attorney

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Phoenix, AZ 85004