Officers are trained to detect drivers under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs by observing the individual operate the vehicle; react during a traffic stop; and complete field sobriety tests. The following discusses each phase of a DUI arrest and highlights what you should be aware of if you are pulled over for a suspected DUI.
1. Operating the Vehicle
The following indicators represent a ‘high probability’ that a driver is impaired:
• Trouble staying in your lane of traffic
• Variations with braking and speed (e.g., abrupt braking, speeding up then decreasing speed, driving too slow or significantly under the speed limit)
• The drivers awareness (or lack thereof) of road signs or signals
• Problems with the driver’s judgment (e.g., illegal turn, unsafe or risky lane change, tailgating)
2. The Traffic Stop
Once the officer initiates a traffic stop, he is required to note indicators of impairment during his interaction with the suspect. Such cues include, but are not limited to, the following:
• Slurred speech
• Glassy, bloodshot eyes
• Odor of alcohol
• Unsteady balance
• Fumbling with driver’s license, registration or insurance information
• The suspect repeats comments or questions
• The suspect has slow or delayed responses
• The suspects becomes angry or argumentative
• The suspect admits to consuming alcohol and/or drugs (even just one beer or cocktail) Remember: You are not required to give a statement to police that may incriminate you.
3. The Field Sobriety Tests
You are not required to submit to Field Sobriety Tests under the law. Field Sobriety Tests are designed to test an individual’s balance, ability to process information and coordination but are often unreliable and can be used as additional evidence against you. However, you are required to submit to a chemical test (i.e., giving a blood or urine sample). A refusal to submit to a chemical test can result in additional penalties and suspension of your driver’s license.