Police trick drivers?

Updated: May 31

Police are trained to trick OWI suspects Excerpted from NHTSA police training manual.

Answer: yes. From the moment that an officer has decided to seize a motorist for OWI (DUI) detection, he or she has undertaken a well-rehearsed script to trip up the test subject and highlight confusion.

For example, officers are trained in phase two, personal contact, to establish evidence sufficient to ask the driver to exit the vehicle. In doing so, the police officer asks interrupting and distracting questions, asks for two things simultaneously, and asks “unusual” questions. An example of asking for two things simultaneously includes asking for license and then immediately following up with a request for proof of registration and proof of insurance.

If a defense lawyer asked a police officer on the stand to produce simultaneous answers to two different questions at the same time, a prosecutor would object, alleging that the defense attorney was trying to confuse the officer, badger the witness, and otherwise ask a “shotgun” or misleading question. The prosecutor would invoke a sense of injustice in doing so, as it is simply not fair to try to trip up someone when you’re asking them questions.

Officers are also trained to be alert for motorists who do not produce both documents, who produce documents other than those requested, and who “fumble” with their wallet or purse, or who “don’t use their fingertips” to produce the documents. None of these signs are actual signs of intoxication and can lead to false positives. However, this is the confusion officers are trained to inspire.

Remember that an OWI (DUI) investigation can be a scripted event where a trained officer becomes a professional witness at an drunk driving prosecution. If you or a loved one has been arrested for OWI (DUI) in Cedar Rapids or other Iowa community, contact us today.

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