Columbus DUI Detection Phase Three: Exiting the Vehicle

If the officer investigating you for DUI asks you to step out of your vehicle you should be on high alert. From this point forward all of your actions will be heavily scrutinized by the officer. So take a deep breath and get it right. This stage of Columbus OVI investigation is called the "exit sequence." NHTSA instructs an officer to look for the following indications of impairment:

DUI Exit Sequence

  • Angry or unusual reactions when asked to get out of the vehicle - If I haven't said so before, ALWAYS be polite and cooperative* when you are dealing with a police officer. ALWAYS. Your behavior is likely the determining factor as to whether or not you go to jail. Picture mace/pepper spray and handcuffs.

  • Can't follow instructions - This happens very rarely and usually does not end well.

  • Can't get out of the vehicle - See above. Also, call my office the moment you are released from the hospital or jail because you will be going to one of the two.

  • Leaves vehicle in gear - I recently had a client do this. The gentleman in question had "fallen asleep" at the wheel. The officer politely tapped on the driver's side window to wake up my client. Little did either of them know but the car was still in gear. "Luckily" for my client there was a cruiser behind his car and an ambulance in front of it. As he attempted to exit the vehicle it slowly crept forward until it hit the ambulance. In a panic my client jumped back in the car to reverse away from the ambulance. . . and hit the cruiser. Please put your vehicle in park before you try to exit.

  • Leans on vehicle after exiting - Some people do this in an attempt to appear relaxed and at ease in front of the officer investigating DUI. Don't do it. Be respectful. Stand up straight, be polite and cooperative.*

  • Climbs out of vehicle - This would be akin to placing your hands on either side of the open door and pulling yourself up and out of the car. 

  • Keeps hands on vehicle for balance - If the officer investigating you for OVI can tell that you can't keep your balance, then you need to call me as soon as possible.

*Cooperation does not mean that you have to submit to the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests that the officer will administer now that you are out of the vehicle. You do have the right to refuse to submit to any test the officer asks you to perform; however, there may be repercussions

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration DUI Detection Manual 2006.



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