Knowing your rights as well as the best way to interact professionally with a police officer during a DUI stop can keep the incident from escalating any further. While a DUI stop in Arizona can be nerve-wracking, keeping your cool and speaking to the officer with respect and a calm demeanor can go a long way. If you have already been charged, you need advice from an experienced criminal defense lawyer sooner rather than later.

When a police officer stops someone for a routine DUI, you should know that this can turn into a bad situation very quickly if your personality is not calm and professional. Reacting calmly, even when you know you are in total control of your judgment and the car, can allow you to deal with a DUI stop quickly and reduce the chances that the situation will turn ugly.

#1 Be Polite and Respectful

It can be aggravating when you’re stopped and accused of a DUI, especially if you have somewhere to be or if you know you are not above the legal limit for blood alcohol. That being said, you should always approach the situation with respect and care because you don’t want things to become nasty. Even the most insignificant behaviors or comments on your part can cause an unfortunate chain of events that end with you being arrested.

A bad attitude, even if you feel like it’s warranted, can prompt an officer to detain you. Stand strong in your rights, but always be respectful and polite in your responses. Just following this tip alone can stop a bad situation from getting any worse.

Use the following tips when interacting with an officer when he or she suspects DUI:

  • Wait until the officer finishes asking a question before offering an answer (if an answer is needed)
  • Avoid non-verbal communication that demonstrates aggravation or anger with the situation (like sighing or rolling your eyes)
  • Remain calm and don’t let any statements or requests irk you to the point of anger
  • Use terms like “officer” or “sir” to indicate a respect for the individual’s position

#2 Know When You Need to Reply- and When You Don’t

If you’re being accused of DUI, you need to know when things have escalated to the point of hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney. As soon as you feel that you are being investigated beyond the basis for the traffic stop, you should exercise your Fifth Amendment rights to remain silent but be aware that refusing the test to confirm blood alcohol can have immediate consequences for you. You should state that you’d prefer not to answer any further questions until you speak to a lawyer if the officer arrests you for a DUI.

#3 Share the Circumstances with Your Lawyer

If you were arrested for DUI as a result of the stop, you need to communicate with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to recount the conversation and actions that occurred. Do this while the incident is still fresh in your mind so that your attorney can be aware of any potential violation of your rights. If the police officer violated your rights, the charges against you could be challenged by your attorney.


This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please feel free to contact Mesa Criminal Attorney, Garrett L. Smith at 480-540-6021 log on to, or contact an attorney in your area.