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5 common mistakes made during a DWI stop

On Behalf of | Mar 11, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Police officers can conduct targeted traffic stops when they suspect that someone has broken the law. When officers notice someone driving unusually slowly, swerving or otherwise behaving in a potentially impaired manner at the wheel, they might stop that driver and may end up arresting them depending on how the traffic stop unfolds.

Oftentimes, the mistakes that drivers make during a targeted traffic stop are what lead to police officers eventually arresting them. The following are the most common errors that could put someone at elevated risk of arrest.


People who feel nervous during an interaction with police officers might volunteer unnecessary information. Sharing too much information with a police officer without needing to do so can put someone at a real disadvantage.

Refusing to cooperate

The opposite approach can be equally problematic. Someone who won’t roll their window down or gives cagey answers to a police officer’s questions might only intensify the police officer’s suspicions. They could end up facing targeted questions and increased scrutiny because they are uncooperative or defensive when they interact with an officer.

Preemptively gathering traffic stop items

The average person probably understands that a police officer expects to see their license, registration and proof of insurance during a traffic stop. However, such conduct may heighten an officer’s suspicions or may result in someone behaving in a way that seems inappropriate during the traffic stop.

Agreeing to field sobriety testing

In Massachusetts, there is an implied consent law that requires drivers to submit to chemical testing in certain situations. Those implied consent rules do not apply to field sobriety test requests. Officers usually ask people to perform field sobriety tests when they suspect intoxication but do not yet have the necessary evidence to justify arresting or chemically testing a driver. Those drivers have the option of refusing a testing process that could make them look guilty.

Trying to talk the officer out of an arrest

Once an officer has the necessary probable cause to request chemical testing, drivers sometimes try to turn on the charm to avoid an arrest. However, the more they say to police officers, the more evidence the state may have when pursuing charges against them later.

Additionally, drivers arrested for DWI offenses often fail to make use of their right to remain silent and may limit their options for a criminal defense by doing so. Learning from this and other common mistakes that other people make during traffic stops may benefit those who would prefer to avoid unnecessary DWI charges.

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