Fort Myers, FL – When a police officer first stops a vehicle, there are a number of indicators that may raise their suspicions that the driver is under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance. These suspicions usually prompt their investigation and subsequent arrest and charges of the individual. However, officers do make mistakes and it is possible that these appearances may be caused by innocent behavior. The defense attorney’s job is to advocate for the client and make sure that the state has enough evidence to prove all elements of the crime beyond any reasonable doubt. 

Indicators of impairment

When a police officer approaches a vehicle after a traffic stop, they will examine the driver to see if they may be under the influence. In Florida, police are supposed to notice several of these factors, usually three, to begin a formal DUI investigation. The most common in cases involving alcohol use are an odor of alcohol on the driver, slurred speech, and bloodshot or watery eyes. Other factors that raise an officer’s suspicions can include a driver that seems to have lost sense of space and time, drowsiness or fatigue, an argumentative or overly emotional attitude, the presence of drugs or alcohol in the car, and clumsiness. The driving pattern may also factor into their suspicions, especially if it seems that the driver was having trouble controlling the vehicle or making basic movements. 

Defending against accusations that a driver appeared intoxicated

Defense attorneys often try to undermine the credibility of this kind of evidence by pointing out that many alleged indicators of alcohol or drug consumption can also be explained by innocent behaviors. Many officers also cannot give more specific information during their testimony, such as exactly how alcohol smells or why a person may have watery eyes. It is certainly possible that someone may have a disheveled appearance from working or sleeping and not necessarily be intoxicated. The main benefit of trying to cast doubt on these indicators is that an officer who does not have a reasonable suspicion to begin the DUI investigation must have all of the evidence they collected from that point onward excluded. Criminal lawyers regularly file motions to suppress evidence as the product of an illegal search under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution for this purpose. If the motion is granted by the judge, this can severely limit the state’s ability to obtain a conviction. 

Florida DUI lawyers are available in the Fort Myers area

Michael Raheb is experienced in all issues related to DUI defense and related problems such as driver’s license suspensions. Anyone who needs assistance with their case can contact him to learn more about representation. 

Firm contact info:

The Law Offices of Michael M. Raheb, P.A.

2423 First Street, Fort Myers, FL 33901


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