Fort Myers, FL – There are a number of driving patterns that may raise a police officer’s suspicions about an impaired driving. This can include driving too fast or slow, swerving or drifting between lanes, wide right turns, and ignoring stop signs and red lights. However, there are also a number of other pieces of evidence beyond a driving pattern that are required for the officer to make a DUI arrest. There must be additional observations that raise the officer’s suspicions as they make contact with a suspect to confirm that the person has been consuming drugs or alcohol.
The traffic stop
A violation of any traffic law in the state can cause a police officer to stop the driver and issue a ticket. DUI cases usually begin this way, but the traffic pattern is only a small part of the investigation. When the officer approaches the vehicle, there are a number of important things that happen.
Signs of impairment
Most police officers who are certified as DUI officers are trained to look for indicators of impairment. These usually include bloodshot or watery eyes, an odor of alcohol on the person’s breath or coming from in the car, slurred speech, and open containers or drug paraphernalia in the vehicle. Usually at least three of these indicators need to be present for the drunk driving investigation to begin.
Asking for the suspect to leave the vehicle
Once an officer has seen these other indicators of impairment, they will ask the suspect to get out of the vehicle and perform physical exercises. These include walking and turning, and making the person touch their finger to their nose several times. The suspect is supposed to be given a well lit and clear area to perform these exercises, although that is not always feasible on a roadside. This is done mostly for the purposes of the state being able to have more observational evidence that a person seemed impaired, than for giving the person a legitimate chance to perform the exercises successfully. The officer will generally not let the person leave, even if they perform the exercises flawlessly.
Defending against this evidence
A defense attorney can cast doubt on the validity and credibility of all of these forms of evidence at trial. It is possible for some DUI defendants to get their charges reduced or the case dismissed with the right lawyer’s help.
Getting help from a local DUI attorney
Anyone who is facing DUI charges in the Fort Myers area should consult with a defense lawyer to learn more about their case. Michael Raheb is available to speak with local clients.
Firm contact info:
2423 First Street, Fort Myers, FL 33901