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How Does a Police Officer Spot a Drunk Driver?

Now that the holiday season is here, the police will be out in full force, ramping up their efforts to catch individuals who are driving under the influence (DUI). With so many drivers on the road, do you know what methods and techniques the police use to spot drunk drivers? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has conducted numerous studies on the effects and signs of impaired driving, providing the results to law enforcement so that they may catch drunk drivers. While these tests are by no means conclusive, police may still use the “results” as a basis for an arrest.

  • Observations of driving behavior: The NHTSA breaks down and identifies four basic categories of driving behavior indicative of intoxication. These are (1) failure to stay within a driving lane, (2) difficulties maintaining a reasonable speed, (3) failure to notice and adapt to driving conditions, and (4) inability to judge and react to objects on the road. If police notice that a driver is consistently exhibiting one or more of these signs, they are likely to pull that driver over and investigate the situation.
  • Signs of intoxication during a traffic stop: In the event that a driver is pulled over, a police officer may be on the lookout for sign such as the smell of alcohol or open alcohol containers. If they notice any suspicious activity or think that a driver is exhibiting poor motor skills, slurred speech, or cannot properly respond to questions, they are likely to conduct one or more sobriety tests. Common field sobriety tests include the walk-and-turn, one leg stand, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. Additionally, an officer may ask to administer a breathalyzer. If placed under arrest and charged with DUI, drivers may be given a chemical test to determine blood alcohol content (BAC).

Aggressive DUI Attorneys in California

At Campbell Whitten, we hope that everyone has a happy and safe holiday season, free of run-ins with the law. However, if you are pulled over and charged with driving while under the influence, do not hesitate to contact our firm. Our Bakersfield DUI attorneys have substantial experience protecting the rights of California drivers and can be reached 24/7. Even if you have supposedly “failed” a sobriety test, we may still be able to help.

There is no time to waste. Call (661) 735-1038 or contact us online and speak to an attorney about your DUI defense.