Police officers use several indicators to identify drunk or drugged drivers. Whether they stop you at a DUI checkpoint or pull you over for running a red light, they’ll look for signs of intoxication. As soon as they begin interacting with you, their training will kick in and they will watch and listen to you closely.
Of course, if you were driving erratically or you got into an accident, they’ll be paying even more attention. Physical, behavioral, and verbal cues will determine if a traffic stop turns into something more. Even if you’re not actually impaired, these things will raise the officer’s suspicions.
It is important to keep in mind that police officers must have reasonable cause for pulling you over. Furthermore, they can only begin a DUI investigation when they suspect that you may be intoxicated. Driving under the influence is dangerous and it can even be deadly. Therefore, you should never do it. However, it is still helpful to know what the police look for when they pull a driver over. This can help you to avoid getting charged even if you’re sober.
Physical Signs of Intoxication
Anytime an officer walks up to your vehicle, they will look for signs that you consumed alcohol. These include watery or bloodshot eyes, flushed skin, slurred speech, and the smell of alcohol. They will also look for signs of drug use including sweating, dilated pupils, and a coated tongue.
There could be several other explanations for these symptoms including medical conditions. If you had nothing to drink, the breathalyzer test will indicate as much. However, you may want to avoid the field sobriety test. Even people who are completely sober can fail for a variety of reasons, once again including medical issues.
Law enforcement personnel will also be on the lookout for open containers of alcohol or drug apparatus. However, these must be in plain sight since they can’t search your vehicle without your consent unless they have a warrant. If an officer uses unlawful means to collect evidence, that evidence won’t be admissible in court. If you get arrested, it’s important to tell your Atlanta DUI lawyer everything that happened during your encounter with the police. They may be able to get the charges against you dismissed.
Behavioral Signs of Intoxication
In addition to considering your physical appearance, the officer will pay attention to how you speak and act. If you slur your words, take a long time to respond or seem confused, they may suspect you’re intoxicated. To confirm this, they may ask you to take a field sobriety test or breath test.
Drivers who are lethargic, aggressive or otherwise acting as if they are impaired will also receive greater scrutiny. If you take a long time to produce your license and registration, you may also raise suspicion. The interaction may be recorded on the officer’s dashcam or bodycam for future reference. You and your attorney will be able to review this if you are charged.
What You Say to the Officer at a DUI Stop
The officer is likely to ask you if you use alcohol or drugs and they will pay attention to how you answer. Your responses may give them probable cause to arrest you and what you say can be used in criminal and administrative proceedings. You, therefore, need to be very careful during these interactions. If you don’t limit your comments, you could incriminate yourself. Don’t lie or get belligerent. Simply decline to provide any information beyond the basics like your name and address. Call an attorney at the earliest possible opportunity so they can advise you on what you should and should not say.
Contact Howard & Arca Today to Get Expert Representation in Georgia
If you have been arrested and charged with driving under the influence at a DUI stop, you need to seek legal counsel. It is important that you do this as soon as possible given how serious DUI charges are. At Howard & Arca DUI Lawyers, we will review all the evidence the police have against you and work on your defense. We will also explain the penalties you could face and detail what we can do for you. If there are grounds to challenge the traffic stop, the arrest, the chemical test results or some other aspect of your case, we will find them.
Call our team of DUI attorneys in Atlanta, GA to get the advice you need. DUI charges are too serious to handle on your own and you need to have competent legal representation. Schedule your first consultation today so we can begin working on your behalf.