What Will Occur During a Police Stop and a Preliminary Investigation of a DUII?

Interviewer: When someone’s pulled over and the police first approach the car, what are the police looking for and what can a person expect?

Shannon: Even before there’s an approach there are certain things that the officers are trained to look for that would alert them that there is a DUII already occurring.

What Driving Patterns do the Police Look For if They Suspect You Are a Drunk Driver?

Officers are trained to look for certain things. The first sequence that they’re trained in is called a ‘stalking sequence.’ The stalking sequence includes the observation of the driving behavior that the officers witnessed before the stop. Let’s talk about that.

The Stalking Sequence

When an officer is looking at your driving, not only are he or she looking for evidence of a traffic violation, but perhaps evidence of a traffic crime. For example, they are looking for, “Did this person fail to maintain their lane, or did they fail to signal within 100 feet of the turn? Did the driver exhibit other driving behaviors associated with that violation that will lead me to believe that there’s something more going on?”

A DUII is Likely to Be Issued in Certain Neighborhoods and During Certain Periods at Night

They are trained to observe other actions along with the plain traffic violation, which is enough by itself to stop a person. They might observe the traffic violation then also look out for common behaviors, especially if it’s during the time where people are likely to drink and drive or near an area where people are likely to drink and drive, such as a restaurant or bar.

For instance, the bars here close at 2:30. Last call is at 2:00 a.m. and most bars close at 2:30. Police officers who are patrolling during that time period, when they observe people driving, are really looking for DUII behavior.

Also there are certain areas in Portland and other cities in Oregon where there are many bars on each block. I think it’s downtown near Chinatown area in Portland where there are quite a few establishments and the officers are always looking for DUIIs in that neighborhood.

Interviewer: Before you go on, what other major cities have high incidence areas? Can you name the streets or some of the neighborhoods?

Shannon: In Oregon City, the downtown area, there are many bars off of Main Street, and I know the police will patrol there. The Hawthorne area in southeast Portland also has a large number of bars. Around closing time, you will find police officers observing driving behaviors.

In downtown Salem, which is a small area, off of Commercial Street there are a few bars and there are some also off State Street in that area.

You will find the police looking for suspected DUIIs in any downtown area where there are a number of bars or clubs. If you’re leaving around closing time, know that you have ‘eyes on you,’ even if you’re the designated driver and you haven’t drank anything, you have other people in the car that are intoxicated.

That could, in itself, spark a whole DUII investigation just because of the time of night.

Shannon I. Wilson, Esq.

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