Columbus OVI Detection Phase Two: Personal Contact - Police Questioning Techniques

Most of the information in my two previous articles was fairly logical and straightforward. Today I'm going to give you the information the police do NOT want you to have. Columbus Police and other law enforcement agencies use specific questioning techniques during their "pre-arrest" DUI investigation. Once again, these techniques are taken directly from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) manual. NHTSA developed testing procedures to detect drunk driving after years of studying the effects of alcohol on your mental and physical capabilities. Obviously the effects of alcohol on the nervous system vary from person to person, but NHTSA found one extremely valuable common occurrence amongst their drunken test subjects. 
A person impaired by alcohol slowly loses the ability to think and react to multiple questions or commands when they are given simultaneously. Simply put: You can't pay attention when you're drunk. The three questioning techniques that follow are all designed to make you focus on performing more than one task at a time. DUI Lawyers commonly refer to these techniques as "Divided Attention Tests."

3 Columbus DUI Questioning Techniques 

1) Ask for 2 things simultaneously when investigating a possible DUI. The officer that has pulled you over for OVI might ask you to provide BOTH your driver's license and vehicle registration, or your driver's license and proof of insurance etc. According to NHTSA, a driver may be DUI if they:
  • forget to provide both documents
  • produce documents other than the ones requested
  • fail to see one or both documents in their wallet, purse or glove compartment
  • "fumble around"
  • are unable to retrieve the requested documents using their fingertips 
2) Ask interrupting or distracting questions when you suspect a driver is OVI. Example: The officer that suspects you are DUI will ask "where you were coming from" while you are trying to retrieve your driver's license. NHTSA says the driver may be OVI if they:
  • ignore the question and concentrate on the search for their license or other requested documents
  • forget to resume searching for the requested document(s) after answering the officer's question
  • give a grossly incorrect answer to the question. Example: The officer asks you what time it is and you respond that it is 1 pm when it is actually 4 am, well now that would be a problem. 
3) Ask unusual questions to a person who is possibly driving drunk. I take my job as a Columbus DUI Attorney very seriously. When I have a client charged with OVI I will defend them as aggressively as possible. That being said, this technique just makes me chuckle. I always envision an officer asking a DUI suspected driver, "If you could be any kind of animal, what animal would you be?" Unfortunately that is not the type of unusual question NHTSA is referring to. The questions are much sneakier, sinister and . . . completely normal. 
  • Example: While the officer is looking at your driver's license he might ask, "What is your middle name?" On the surface this question seems simple enough, but your mind is in overdrive and you probably think the question will be related to your date of birth or address. That is why the question is so tricky: it is effective. 

From this article forward the information will be coming fast and loud. There is one more section in Phase Two of Columbus DUI Detection to discuss. In the next article I will give you some brief information about the other common techniques used during an Ohio OVI investigation. Then we'll get into what happens when you hear those dreaded words, "step out of the car please."

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration DUI Detection Manual 2006.



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