107 E Eureka Ave, #1
Eureka, IL 61530
121 N Main St
Bloomington, IL 61701
309-467-3213 schedule consultation
schedule consultation

What Physical And Behavioral Signs Does An Officer Look For When He First Pulls Me Over For DUI?

Published on March 4th, 2015

Police officers patrol the roads of Illinois to protect drivers and others from dangers and threats. One part of their job is to be vigilant in their pursuit of drunk drivers. Law enforcement officers are always on the lookout for physical and behavioral signs that indicate a driver is under the influence of alcohol. Those that choose to drink and drive are a danger to themselves and to others; therefore, police officers strive to remove these drivers from the road as quickly as possible in order to protect the drivers themselves and others from harm.

When an officer pulls a driver over, the officer is looking for certain behavioral and physical signs that the driver is intoxicated. While not all DUI stops result in an arrest, it is important to understand the physical and behavioral signs of drunk driving. By avoiding these physical and behavioral signs, you may be able to avoid a DUI charge. However, if you are pulled over and arrested for DUI, it is important that you contact the DUI lawyers of Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols as soon as possible so that we can help you with your DUI case.

Physical and Behavioral Signs of Drunk Driving

When a police officer makes the decision to pull over a driver he suspects of drunk driving, the officer is looking for signs of impairment while the driver is operating the vehicle, during the initial contact at the traffic stop, and during the pre-exit tests. If the officer believes that the driver is exhibiting one or more of the signs of drunk driving, he will then request the driver to exit the vehicle to complete one or more field sobriety tests and a portable breath test.

  • Physical and Behavioral Signs While You Are Driving

Law enforcement officers are trained to be observant when they are on the road. Typically, the first thing that will alert an officer that a driver might be driving under the influence of alcohol is something that the driver does while operating the vehicle. Signs include speeding, weaving, veering to the left or right, crossing the centerline, braking erratically, driving too slowly, failing to use proper signals, and other signs of reckless driving.

Of course, these signs could also occur because you were driving while distracted; therefore, you should always pay attention when driving and avoid doing things that will distract you from the main purpose of driving.

  • Physical and Behavioral Signs During the Initial Contact

Once the officer pulls you over, he will use all of his senses to look for signs of intoxication. This includes smelling for alcohol, observing your physical condition, listening to how you communicate, and watching how you react. You should always be polite and respectful during your traffic stop. Some of the physical and behavioral signs the officer is looking for include slurred speech, erratic movements, inability to retrieve requested documents, having difficulty doing two things at one time, the smell of alcohol, inconsistent responses to questions, bloodshot eyes, your overall physical appearance, and the smell of breath mints or other substances used to cover up alcohol.

When you are pulled over by an officer, it can make you very nervous. Being nervous and anxious can cause you to act suspiciously. Try to remain calm, listen to the officer, and think before acting or speaking.

  • Physical and Behavioral Signs During the Pre-exit Tests

If the officer believes that you are exhibiting physical and behavioral signs of intoxication, he may use one or more pre-exit tests to further confirm his suspicions. These tests are difficult to perform by someone who has had nothing to drink especially in a tense situation. The officer may ask you to say your alphabet backwards or beginning with a letter in the middle of the alphabet and stopping short of the end. The officer may ask you to count backwards from 78 to 62 or another set of numbers. Take your time and think before speaking if you choose to answer these questions.

Get Help with your DUI Charge

If you have been arrested for DUI in Illinois, it is very important that you contact our office as soon as possible. We can help you prepare a strong defense to a DUI charge. We want to reduce the impact of a DUI arrest on your life.

Contact Our Office for a Consultation with an Experienced Illinois DUI Attorney

The attorneys of Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols represent individuals who need experienced DUI defense attorneys. We represent clients throughout McLean, Woodford, Tazewell and Peoria counties by providing compassionate, competent legal services. You can contact our office by calling 309-938-4838 to schedule a free DUI consultation.

When you need the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney in Central Illinois, call the knowledgeable and skilled attorneys of Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols. We are dedicated to giving our clients exceptional service and support throughout the DUI process.

Don Pioletti
Latest posts by Don Pioletti (see all)

Back to News


107 E Eureka Ave, #1
Eureka, IL 61530


24/7 live phone answering


121 N Main St
Bloomington, IL 61701


24/7 live phone answering


2 Dearborn Square #1D
Kankakee, IL 60901


24/7 live phone answering


1 W Old State Capitol Plz Ste 721
Springfield, IL 62701


24/7 live phone answering

Contact Us Today!