Several pieces of evidence that you are likely intoxicated by an illegal substance are needed before you can be arrested for drunk or drugged driving.
The officer that pulled you over should have:
Evaluated Your Driving Prior to Pulling You Over
First and foremost, a police officer must have a legitimate reason for stopping your vehicle. An officer cannot simply pull you over because they want to; they must have what is known as probable cause. In DWI cases, this is usually swerving or drifting into other lanes, or failing to obey traffic laws.
Conducted a Preliminary Sight and Smell Assessment
As the officer gets close to your vehicle, they will conduct a preliminary sight and smell assessment to check for easily visible or smellable evidence. They’ll shine their flashlight through your vehicle windows to look for contraband like alcohol containers, and they’ll use their olfactory senses to check for the scent of cannabis or alcohol.
Reviewed Your Behavior At the Start of the Stop
Your behavior during the stop is also evaluated for signs of intoxication, like slurred speech and poor motor skills.
If you have difficulty answering the officer’s questions and display signs of severe confusion or loss of balance, you will likely be charged with driving while intoxicated and taken into law enforcement custody. For this reason, it’s important to speak and move as little as possible during a traffic stop.
Conducted a Blood Alcohol Test
Frequently, law enforcement officers will conduct chemical testing to determine if your blood alcohol level is over the legal limit. This may be done using breath test equipment on the scene, or you may be taken to the hospital or a laboratory for a blood test.
The latter is often what occurs when the officer suspects that you may be under the influence of drugs, which a breathalyzer cannot test for.
Requested That You Take Field Sobriety Tests
The officer who pulls you over may ask that you get out of your car and submit to a walk and turn test or other field sobriety tests. These are inaccurate even if you’re sober and you can decline to submit to them without the risk of license suspension.
Get the Legal Help You Need After a DWI Arrest Today
If you or a loved one were arrested for drunk driving, we can help, but it’s important that you take action as soon as possible. Call now for your initial consultation to discuss your case in detail at (203) 290-2779.