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How Do Cops Identify Drunk Drivers?

Posted by Christopher Martens | Mar 22, 2016 | 0 Comments

When police are on patrol, there are a number of signs they will be looking for to identify drunk drivers. These are sometimes called signs of impairment and can be exhibited in drivers in moving vehicles as well as while they are stopped. When driving, these signs of impairment can include swerving, weaving between lanes, driving too slow for traffic, turning on too wide a radius, hitting or driving over curbs, stopping the flow of traffic, braking inappropriately, or otherwise driving recklessly. This is not to say that day-to-day traffic violations won't raise any warning signs. Pretty much any traffic violation can induce an officer to look for signs of impairment. At the same time, you could easily be showing signs of impairment and not be impaired at all. Unfortunately, this is one of the reasons why so many people are wrongfully charged with a DUI. An officer doesn't need to see much to pull you over, and, by that point, he or she may already be anticipating that you are impaired. If you are arrested for one of these signs but were not impaired, you may have a strong defense in court. Speak with an experienced DUI defense attorney before you appear at your first hearing. A good attorney will be able to advise you on how to challenge the information the officer included in his or her report, such as an observation that you were swerving between lanes. Without more conclusive evidence that you were impaired, your case could be dismissed.

If an officer pulls you over after witnessing one of these signs or for some other traffic violation, he or she will continue to look for signs of impairment when interacting with you face to face. At this point, it is still possible for an officer to wrongfully identify you as a drunk driver. Before the officer even asks you for your license and registration, he or she will be closely watching your every move. If you fumble while trying to find your documents or appear nervous when speaking with them, the officer may see those as signs you are intoxicated. From that point, it won't take much for you to be arrested for a DUI. The officer will also be looking for physical signs of impairment such as red, watery eyes, a flushed face, or a disheveled appearance. When you are speaking, he or she will be noting how you enunciate your words, whether or not you slur your speech, and how easily you can answer the questions you are being asked. Again, you could exhibit some of these signs and still not be impaired. It is possible an officer could arrest you based off of these signs. An experienced attorney may be able to get your case dismissed if you were arrested based off of these signs but were not impaired. The officer will also be noting any alcohol in the car or alcohol on your breath.

If you have been arrested for a DUI, speak with an attorney about your case. If the officer did not have probable cause to arrest you, your case could be dismissed with the right defense strategy. DUI laws can be complex and an officer's report will be the main source of information regarding your case. An attorney can help you with getting a copy of this report prior to your first hearing so you can review it and identify any false information. If there is any false information in it, you may have a strong defense in court. Don't underestimate the officer's authority though. It isn't enough for you to simply show up and deny any of the information in the report. You will need the help of a skilled DUI defense attorney to effectively challenge the report and get your case dismissed. Also keep in mind that even without a DUI conviction, the DMV will automatically suspend your license under the Admin Per Se law. If you are falsely arrested for a DUI, you will have to request an administrative hearing through the DMV to appeal the suspension. It is possible to have a suspension rescinded, but you may need the help of an attorney to do so.

Are you in the Visalia or Tulare area and facing charges for a DUI? At The Law Offices of Christopher Martens, we are experienced in DUI defense and can help you formulate a strong defense against the prosecution's argument. Criminal defense attorney Christopher Martens has successfully represented clients in Fresno, Tulare and Kings Counties for over ten years and will not be afraid to take your case all the way to trial. Contact our Visalia or Hanford, CA offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] to discuss your case.

About the Author

Christopher Martens

Bio Visalia and Bakersfield criminal defense attorney who has dedicated his life to helping those who have been accused of crimes or injured due to the negligence of others.


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