This week, we ask Officer William Pelarenos: What's the Best Way to Handle Being Pulled Over for a Potential DUI?
Officer Pelarenos: The number one rule is to be polite, hand over your driver’s license and politely ask why you were stopped. If the Police Officer asks you to step out of the car, you have two options, first you can comply with the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST) which is a battery of tests that consist of HGN- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus which is the involuntary jerking of the eyes. The more alcohol consumed, the sooner the onset of HGN.
The second test is the Walk and Turn test which has the driver walk nine steps on a straight line then nine steps back, in a specific prescribed manner.
The third test is the One Leg Stand. Finally, for some, there is a Preliminary Breath Test, which uses a portable breath tester (PBT, otherwise known as a breathalyzer). In Illinois for example, the Illinois State Police and suburban police depts. have PBT’s but the Chicago Police Dept. does not issue them to its officers.
Your performance on these tests determines if the Officer will arrest you or let you go. Of course, your second option is to refuse to comply with all Field Sobriety Tests but then the Officer will most likely arrest you and take you to the Police station for an Evidentiary Breathalyzer Exam. This is an exam using a desktop infrared spectrometry breathalyzer unit.
Got a DUI question for Officer Pelarenos? Ask him at firstname.lastname@example.org.