How Does a Law Enforcement Officer Decide a DUI Arrest Is Warranted?

Prior to making an arrest, the officer who stopped you must have reasonable proof that you are too intoxicated to safely operate your vehicle. 

To obtain this, a police officer will: 

Evaluate How You’re Driving 

Police officers cannot make a traffic stop without probable cause, or a legitimate reason to pull your vehicle over. Good examples of this are failure to obey traffic laws, swerving, speeding, and driving erratically or recklessly. When you are stopped, the officer should tell you why your vehicle was pulled over. 

Check for Indicators of Illegal Activity  

Once the officer has approached your vehicle, they will be using their flashlight to look inside for any readily available visual evidence of illegal activity or contraband. 

They’re looking for things like pipes, baggies, and open containers of alcohol. When you roll down your window to talk to the officer, they’ll be using their olfactory senses to determine if your car or breath smells like alcohol or drugs. 

Note Their First Impression of You 

The officer’s first impression of your speech and behavior when you are pulled over is an important part of the prosecution’s case against you. 

During your traffic stop, the police will be evaluating you for indicators of intoxication, like slurred speech and confusion. If your movements are slowed or you have poor hand-eye coordination, officers are likely to take note of this as well. 

Administer a Breathalyzer Test 

Often, a breathalyzer test will be administered at the scene of the traffic stop. You have the option to decline, however, you will have your license suspended right away if you do. 

It’s typically in your best interests to go ahead and take a breathalyzer test and then allow your lawyer to challenge the validity of those test results. You do not have to take a breathalyzer test to be arrested, however. 

Ask You to Submit to Roadside Sobriety Tests  

Often, a police officer will request that you submit to field sobriety testing at the scene of the stop. While designed to indicate if a driver is inebriated, they are notoriously inaccurate. You have the legal right to decline a field sobriety test without having your license suspended. 

Charged With Drunk Driving? Get Help from a Sacramento DUI Attorney  

Don’t hesitate to take action to defend yourself after being arrested for drunk driving in California. Your reputation, rights, and driving record are at risk. Call Mouzis Criminal Defense now at (916) 822-8702.