On a daily basis, all over the country people who have had too much to drink get into their vehicles and drive and the odds are that one day they will get stopped and arrested for drunken driving. Law enforcement officers are trained to observe a driver’s behavior and determine if they are intoxicated, but you may wonder how they do it.
The first thing that tips off an officer is whether a driver is making erratic maneuvers, speeding or disobeying traffic signs and signals. When someone drifts in their lane or violates traffic laws, law enforcement has the probable cause to stop a person. Erratic driving is not solely the caused by alcohol impairment, medical events, fatigue or inattention are other possible reasons.
A traffic violation is not enough to charge a person with suspicion of DUI. Once an officer has stopped a driver they will observe the driver’s eyes for redness. Slurred speech and the smell of alcohol will tip off an officer.
If law enforcement suspects a driver in drunk then they will ask you to get out of your car a conduct field sobriety tests. Sobriety tests include exercises that test a person’s balance, eye movements and their cognitive skills. The NHTSA provides a brief description of the standardized tests officers use.
If you fail these tests then you can be asked to submit to a breathalyzer or chemical blood test. The accused refuse to takes these tests, but many states have penalties for refusing to blow, such as a year’s suspension of your driver’s license.
If you do submit to a blood alcohol test and it is above the legal limit, which is .08 in the majority of states, you will then be charged with DUI and have numerous legal troubles ahead.
DUI attorneys are critical to a person at this time. They will use their expertise to develop a solid defense which can result in reduced charges or an innocent verdict.