Police officers are required to gather enough evidence before a DWI arrest to support the reasonable belief that the driver was operating their vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This includes assessing:
Your Driving Before the Stop
A law enforcement officer should thoroughly evaluate your driving behavior before deciding to pull you over on the suspicion of drunk driving.
The police must have probable cause to stop your vehicle, meaning they can’t simply pull you over because they think you might be intoxicated. If you’re stopped, you should be informed of what you did to make the officer stop your car.
Any Visual or Other Indicators of Illegal Behavior
Upon approaching your vehicle, the officer who pulled you over will look for indicators of illegal behavior. For example, they’ll be checking for the smell of alcohol or drugs coming from your breath or your vehicle and will be using their flashlight to look through your car windows and see if contraband is easily visible, like empty beer cans or a pipe.
How You Speak and Act During the Stop
How you act and speak while interacting with the officer who stopped you can be a major indicator of whether or not you may be driving under the influence. The police officer will be evaluating your speech and movements for slurred words, difficulty with your balance and coordination, and other signs that you may be impaired by drugs or alcohol.
The Results of Chemical Testing
A chemical test is a routine part of a DWI stop and you must comply if you don’t want your driver’s license to be automatically suspended.
An officer does not have to conduct a chemical test on the scene and can arrest you for the purpose of chemical testing at a hospital or laboratory. This is often the case if the officer suspects that you are guilty of drugged driving as opposed to drunk driving.
Your Performance on Field Sobriety Tests
If you submit to field sobriety tests and fail them, these results will likely be used to arrest you and later to pursue a conviction. Unfortunately, these tests are quite difficult to pass even if you are completely sober.
Don’t Wait Before Contacting a DWI Defense Lawyer
If you’ve been arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated, it’s important that you act quickly. Mark Cossuto can help protect your reputation, rights, and record. Call now at (718) 852-8047 or toll-free at (800) 609-4545.