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Police Look for These Intoxication Cues at a DUI Stop

How does a police officer know someone has been drinking or using drugs when they pull her over?

Some people arrested for DUI think they were targeted for no reason, but officers have been trained to observe motorists for many different signs that they may be under the influence. While a driver is trying her best to act casual and "normal," the arresting officer is usually aware of certain cues that the driver isn't even thinking about.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released a list of 24 cues during three field studies involving hundreds of officers and more than 12,000 enforcement stops. The driving behaviors the officers identified fall into four categories, including problems maintaining proper lane position, speed and braking problems, vigilance problems, and judgment problems. Once they stop a vehicle for suspected DUI, they are going to look at the driver for certain cues like:

  • Difficulty turning the car off and exiting the vehicle
  • Repeating questions or comments
  • Slurred speech
  • The odor of alcohol
  • Changing answers to questions or giving incorrect information
  • Balance problems or leaning on a car or other object for support
  • Fumbling with a driver's license or registration


If you were stopped and arrested for DUI, you're going to need a DUI defense attorney on your side to help. It is possible that your rights may have been violated in some way and your lawyer will know just what to look for. The penalties for DUI in Illinois are too serious to do this on your own; contact Brian Polinske immediately for assistance.

Do you know someone who has been arrested for DUI before? Did he tell you why the officer said he was pulled over? Please feel free to share in the comments section below.

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