There are a number of reasons that you may be pulled over by the police for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or other substances. Running a stop sign, swerving erratically, or a DUI checkpoint are the most common reasons. After asking for your license, registration, and proof of insurance the police officer will immediately ask if you have been drinking. They may also claim that they smell alcohol.
- Do NOT say that you have been drinking or are taking medication
- Always be polite to the officer and do not argue
- If you admit to drinking then you will likely be arrested
The Field Sobriety Test
This is a very subjective test left completely to the officer’s opinion to determine your performance. There are a number of non-alcohol related reasons that one can fail a field sobriety test, such as central nervous system or genetic disorders and inner ear problems.
- You may refuse a field sobriety test without legal ramifications
- The officer is not required to disclose this right of refusal to you
- If you submit to a field sobriety test, expect the officer to measure
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus (eye movement)
- Walking in a straight line
- One-leg stand for at least 30 seconds
The Breath Test
The Breathalyzer or Intoxilyzer is the next most effective way to determine someone’s blood alcohol level (BAL). It’s not measuring the air in your mouth and throat, but in the lungs. The lungs function to exchange gases in the blood with gases in the atmosphere. As we breathe, some alcohol will vaporize from our blood into the lung air to be expelled in the breath. The officer’s device measures this.
- 1 year license suspension If you refuse a breath test, if eligible, you can get a hardship driver’s license after 90 days if you are enrolled in a DUI school
- 6 month license suspension If you take and fail the breath test, if eligible you can get a hardship driver’s license after 30 days if you are enrolled in a DUI school
- The state attorney may ask for jail on a refusal of the test and if you refuse a second time the state attorney will normally request jail from the court
- If you fail the breath test, you may ask for a blood test
If you have been arrested for DUI, contact an attorney ASAP
An experienced DUI attorney that understands law enforcement procedures and the ins and outs of the court system can be an invaluable tool against serving time, paying hefty fines, having your driver’s license suspended or revoked, and having your vehicle immobilized. Remember, you have the right to request a formal hearing from the DMV, but you only have 10 days from your arrest to do so or risk waiving that right.