Driving While Intoxicated or DWI is a criminal specialty in and of itself. Police officers go through an intensive training regimen to become certified in Standardized Field Sobriety Tests. Such an exact standard is set to help officers identify those among the population who have operated a vehicle after consuming too much to drink.
When a police officer stops you for DWI it is oftentimes premised on a violation of traffic law. This allows for a stop without violating your 4th amendment rights. It is essentially a legal means of detaining you for an investigative purpose.
So, what should you do if stopped? The answer varies depending on each situation. You should always be courteous and hand the officer your license and registration. However, be careful. Even something as benign as this could be used against you in a court of law.
The officer’s job is to see if they believe you were drinking. Smelling of alcohol, bloodshot eyes and encumbered motor skills are all red flags for any officer. Did you fumble when handing over your license and registration? Were you clumsy on your way out of the car? If suspicious, they will potentially offer you a portable breath test or PBT. This PBT is not admissible to show intoxication, but can be used to develop what we call probable cause to affect an arrest.
The officer may also run you through standardized field sobriety tests or SFSTs. There are several of these types of tests that are used to help develop probable cause. Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus or HGN is administered to your eyes. You have probably seen this on television or in a movie when the officer has a driver follow his pen with their eyes.
The second test is the 30 second one-leg stand. The officer is really concentrating on how you balance yourself. Your ability to balance is often times an indication of intoxication.
The last of the most-used sobriety tests is the 9 step walk and turn test. This is administered to show your ability to walk a straight line, balance and follow directions.
With all of these tests it is easy to be arrested for this crime. It is important that you hire someone who has won these cases before. At the Báez Law Firm we have the experience to fight for you.