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The Police Stop: When It Is Suspected You Are Driving Under the Influence

Interviewer: Let’s go through the process from the moment someone is stopped, and the police come up to the car. What’s the normal sequence of events that start to unfold?

Brian Sloan: When the police come to the car, what they normally first do is ask for the driver’s license, registration and insurance. Usually, when someone is pulled over, it’s not always because someone is suspected of driving under the influence.

When the officer comes to the door, he or she should not start the DUI investigation right away. Normally, the reason why an officer comes to someone’s door is because they saw that there was a cracked windshield, a headlight out or a license plate light out. That is not indicative of someone who’s driving under the influence.

The officer, even though it might be 2:30 AM in the morning, may think that someone out that early in the morning is probably driving under the influence; however, their reason for stopping you has to be limited solely to the issue that they saw and the reasonable suspicion that they had.

An officer will come to the car door. They should ask for your license, registration and insurance. They will very likely be taking notice if you have bloodshot watery eyes, if there’s an odor of alcohol, if you have a slur to your speech, if your face is flushed – those types of signs and symptoms that might be consistent with alcohol consumption.

The Police Look for Reasonable Suspicion That You Are Intoxicated

Interviewer: Even though it may not seem to you, as the person being pulled over, that they’re going to investigate you for DUI, the police are looking at it with an eye towards moving it that way?

Brian Sloan: Yes. Especially the time of night or the early morning hours, officers know that if someone is out late at night, especially on a Friday or Saturday night, in the early morning hours, chances are that person was at a bar. Chances are, the person on the road is driving drunk.

They will find any reason to pull someone over. They think that you’re drunk, but they don’t know it. Often, they have to come up with some other reason to pull you over and it’s usually something trivial. “Y-turning” is a popular infraction to cite. Speeding is a popular infraction to cite, something that everyday people do, whether they’re drunk or sober, but it serves as an excuse to pull someone over.

What the Police Will Do If They Suspect You Are Intoxicated

Interviewer: What kind of questions will tell someone that this is turning into a DUI investigation? What kind of line of questioning will the police come up with, normally?

Brian Sloan: Usually, at the time that they ask for the license, registration and insurance, they ask the person, “Have you been drinking anything tonight?” or “When’s the last time you smoked marijuana?” Very quickly, the line of questioning goes from, “Hey, I was pulled over because I forgot to turn my headlights on,” to, “Wait a minute, why are you asking me questions about drinking?”

What you say is crucial in a way, because if you answer that you did smoke marijuana, you did use drugs, you did take prescription medications or you did consume alcohol–those answers are going to launch the officer into a DUI investigation

How Should You Respond to the Police Questioning?

Lying isn’t necessarily the right answer either. You don’t want to tell the officer something that he can obviously tell is taking place. If you say that you have not consumed alcohol, that you’re the only person in your vehicle and your vehicle smells of alcohol, the officer is going to think that your lying and, if this goes any further, you are going to be painted as a liar.

If it goes to trial, you’ll be seen as someone who is not honest because you said that you did not consume alcohol when, obviously, you smelled of alcohol. The best advice, really, is to stay silent or tell the officer that you prefer not to answer that question or that you don’t feel that question is appropriate or you are not going to dignify that question with an answer.

Your Right to Remain Silent: The Best Response Is No Response

That is really the only safe area to go into because you’re either going to tell the truth, and many people do, but it hurts them or, you’re going to lie, which also hurts you. You have a constitutional right to remain silent, utilize it.

Interviewer: If you said, “Officer, I’m not going to answer any questions without an attorney present,” or “I don’t feel comfortable answering that,” what’s going to be his or her normal response to you? Will they pressure you? What will happen?

Brian Sloan: It’s fine. You do have a constitutional right to remain silent. The interesting thing is, technically, you don’t have a constitutional right to an attorney until you’ve been arrested. I’ve had a client that, numerous times before being arrested, he kept asking for an attorney but the officer was correct in telling him that, “You haven’t been arrested yet. You don’t have a right to an attorney yet.”

While you can say to the officer that you don’t want to answer his questions, you want to talk to an attorney, you’re not going to incriminate yourself, or you want to remain silent, it may upset the officer. The officer may decide to arrest you but you’ve protected yourself in the future from, hopefully, ever getting charged.

If they don’t have the evidence to use against you, if you stay quiet and you refuse to do their field sobriety tests, that’s a lot less evidence that they have to use against you at trial. The prosecutors may just decide not to bring a case.

By: Brian Douglas Sloan

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Brian Douglas Sloan


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Best DUI Lawyer in Phoenix

Why DUI Attorney Brian Douglas Sloan?


19+ Years SOLELY Focused on DUI Defense


4,200+ DUIs Successfully Defended

Top Accolades

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

  • Top 10 in Arizona

Top 1%

Top One Percent in the Nation

Superb 10/10

4.9 / 5.0


brian sloan on the cover of attorney at law magazine

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

I have spent my entire career SOLELY focused on Arizona DUI Defense Representation, having personally defended more than 4,400 Driving Under the Influence (DUI) clients in the past 19+ years.

If you’re looking for a Divorce Attorney, Tax Attorney, Civil Attorney, etc., I can comfortably say, "I’m not the one for you." I ONLY defend DUI cases in most of Maricopa County, Arizona.

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 it is a proven advertising phrase. Being "aggressive" isn’t the same as being good, and is often used to put on a show to hide the fact that they aren’t doing anything meaningful for the client.

The same is true for the Lawyers claiming to do DUI Defense, and Criminal Cases, and Accident Cases, and Divorces, etc. A Jack-of-all-Trades is a master of none! By handling all 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. Unlike many other law firms, if you hire The Law Offices of Brian D. Sloan, you actually get me representing you, doing all the work, and working the case. You aren’t hiring one guy with all the experience, but getting the underling with very little knowledge or experience.

I work seven days a week on my client’s cases, and spend hours laying all my thoughts out for my clients in writing, so they can understand their options, and my recommendations. No other DUI Lawyer in the state does this. I try to do what I can to go above-and-beyond for my clients. I hate when the businesses I deal with nickel-and-dime me with hidden costs, and I take pride in not doing that to my clients.

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

I am one of Arizona's most award-winning DUI Defense Lawyers, as well as being recognized nationally. I was the only DUI Defense Lawyer in the United States named a "Power Lawyer" in a 2022 issue of USA Today

There are no other private Lawyers in Arizona that have personally defended more DUI cases than I have. And as a bonus, I offer a very reasonable flat rate for my legal services, with a payment plan, and without any hidden charges. This guarantees that I offer some of the most competitive rates among all Arizona DUI Attorneys, while being a well-documented and preeminent leader in the field of DUI Defense Representation.

Over the years, countless people have come to me after discovering that their first lawyer made a mistake, gave them false hope or false promises, or simply took their money and didn't do much to advance their case. And you would be surprised at how often this happens.

So, instead of wasting time and money on the wrong DUI Defense Attorney, do yourself a favor and get the proven and well-recognized best DUI Lawyer in Phoenix and the surrounding areas of Maricopa County.

You can reach me on my personal cell phone at 480-720-7839 for a Free ‘In Depth’ Consultation.

I personally defend DUI cases in urban Maricopa County City, Town, and Justice Courts, including:

Ahwatukee / Agua Fria / Arcadia Biltmore / Avondale / Buckeye / Chandler / Country Meadows / Desert Ridge / Dreamy Draw / Downtown / East Mesa / El Centro / Encanto / Gilbert / Glendale / Goodyear / Guadalupe / Highland / Kyrene / Litchfield Park / Maryvale / McDowell Mountain / Mesa / Moon Valley / North Mesa / Peoria / Phoenix / Queen Creek / San Marcos / San Tan / South Mountain / Scottsdale / Tempe / University Lakes / West McDowell / West Mesa / White Tank

For any other Courts in the State of Arizona, including Felony cases, I would recommend my associates on The Arizona DUI Team, whom I work closely with, but I am not the one personally representing the client.

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Brian Douglas Sloan

DUI Attorney

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