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The Psychology of a Roadside DUI Stop: Signs the Cops Use to Tell You’re Lying

Authorities at all levels receive training on interviewing suspects – even those pulled over during roadside stops. Gauging the truth by evaluating a driver’s mannerisms can separate the fakers from the innocent, if used properly in appropriate circumstances. Alternatively, a nervous motorist might display telltale signs of deception where none actually exist, which might prompt officers conducting the stop to become suspicious, and ask the driver out of the car. If they suspect the driver is under the influence of alcohol, questions may soon turn into field sobriety tests and a potential DUI charge. Knowing how to remain calm, and avoid the types of behavior that tip off a liar’s tendencies, might keep an innocent person from seeing the inside of a jail cell.

DUI Checkpoint 1024x684 - The Psychology of a Roadside DUI Stop: Signs the Cops Use to Tell You’re Lying

Changes in Speech Patterns

Liars typically avoid referencing themselves in the first person. The self-referent “I” is absent from their speech patterns. Police may interrogate a DUI suspect and monitor their use of the word “you” during responses, to determine if it’s likely the suspect is attempting to hide something about their alcohol consumption that evening.

If you’re telling the truth, confront questions head on and refer to yourself in the first person to avoid raising unnecessary suspicion. You haven’t been drinking. You know you’re telling the truth. You have no reason to be nervous. Our Pennsylvania DUI lawyers see this type of pullover situation all the time. We have developed strategies to overcome it should the authorities charge you.

Using Negative Terms When Answering Questions

Feeling bad about a DUI stop can turn up in your speech in the form of negative word choices. When questioning you as a suspect, authorities pay close to attention to how you answer – whether you use negation or remain positive. For example, if you’re attempting to deceive someone, you might say, “I’m not nervous” instead of saying, “I’m calm” because your mind is focused on the lie, which it perceives as breaking the rules or wrong in some way. Stay positive and affective in diction, and you may avoid unwanted attention from the cops.

Avoiding Eye Contact

It’s a classic, but it’s true – liars are more susceptible to avoiding eye contact with their accuser than those who tell the truth. There’s plenty of psychology and field research to support the hypothesis and make it fact. Do yourself a favor, and don’t give the authorities a reason to believe you’re telling less than the truth by avoiding looking them in the eyes. Face the questions straight on, and speak truthfully. Our DUI lawyers in Pennsylvania can take care of the rest when the truth doesn’t do enough to help you escape unjust charges.

Illegal Hands to the Face?

Just like in football, hands to the face may cause a steep penalty. Are you prepared to pay that price? If you’re being deceptive, it’s more probable that your hands will touch your face or mouth as a means of subconscious protection from your accuser. When you tell the truth, you have more of a tendency to place your hands on your abdomen, or over your heart.

Lack of Musical Qualities of your Voice

When you speak naturally, your voice has its own cadence or musical quality. Everyone has their own unique speech pattern, which creates a kind of flow in the way they inflect words and string sentences together. When you lie, that cadence can entirely disappear as you focus more on what you’re saying than how you’re saying it. The result is a wooden, often rambling style of speech that’s a dead giveaway to the cops that you’re telling outright falsehoods.

Don’t allow the police to confuse you, or make you admit to something you haven’t done. If you’re facing driving under the influence charges, you need experienced representation to protect your rights. Our attorneys have handled more than 5,000 DUI cases since our founding. We can help. Call today.



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Learn what to do if you have been stopped for DUI/DWI.

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If this is your first DUI offense, you may be eligible for ARD.



Commonwealth v. "H" (DUI case)

Client was charged with three separate DUI cases calling for mandatory minimum imprisonment of 90 days on each case. Client was advised to seek immediate intensive alcohol counseling. Client was sentenced to 1 year of house arrest after serving 3 days in the county prison.


Commonwealth v. "C" (Felony drug/Firearms case)

Client was charged with felony Delivery of drugs and illegal gun possession and was facing a mandatory 3-6 year prison sentence in the State prison system. Client was sentenced to one year of house arrest.


Commonwealth v. "S"

Client was charged with simple assault, domestic. After a hearing where evidence and testimony was presented, the entire case was dismissed by Judge Leonard Brown.


State of New Jersey v. "H"

Charges for young man charged with second degree aggravated assault were downgraded to third degree and he was accepted into the County Pretrial Intervention program with charges to be dismissed and record expunged after one year of misconduct free behavior.


We have decades of experience dealing with local police departments, prosecutors, and judges throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Anyone facing charges involving a criminal offense can expect to experience a heightened degree of emotional turmoil, for themselves, as well as their family members. Our team of highly qualified criminal law attorneys and expert legal support staff are committed to providing each of our client’s with the compassion and understanding they deserve, as well as an aggressive plan for representation at an affordable price.

As former prosecutors, we have a balanced and in-depth understanding of the criminal justice system and how the prosecution prepares cases. In addition, we have long-standing experience dealing with local police departments, prosecutors and judges throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

At Young, Marr and Associates, when we say “experience matters,” we mean it. Our lawyers, which include two former prosecutors and a former senior deputy district attorney bring more than three decades of criminal law experience, handling more than 10,000 criminal cases. It is precisely that experience that allows us to achieve outstanding results for our clients facing DUI, traffic, felony and misdemeanor charges in state, federal and juvenile courts.