What Signs Are Police Watching For During a DWI Stop?
Police suspicion that you may be driving while intoxicated can start from the moment you are pulled over. Erratic driving suggests to them that you might be impaired, and the time of night and proximity to drinking establishments may further their suspicions. However, suspicions and police intuition about your driving are not enough reason to immediately demand a sobriety test or arrest you for DWI. The officer will observe your appearance and behavior to determine whether there is probable cause for an arrest.
Officers are familiar with the visual cues that a driver may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, such as:
- Bloodshot or watery eyes;
- Dilated pupils;
- Flushed face;
- An odor of alcohol or drugs; and
- An unkempt appearance.
A combination of any of these symptoms will raise suspicion, but each one could have an explanation that is unrelated to alcohol or drugs. You may be sweating or have bloodshot eyes if you are sick or tired. While being sick or tired can impair your driving ability, the consequences are not the same as being under the influence of an intoxicating substance. The smell of alcohol or drugs is more difficult to explain. It is possible that the odor could be coming from a current or recent passenger who was drinking or using drugs.
What you say and how you act can increase suspicion that you are intoxicated. Officers are watching for signs of intoxicated behavior, such as:
- Slurring your speech;
- Being slow to respond to questions or commands;
- Fumbling your wallet while trying to produce your license;
- Acting aggressively or hostile to questions; or
- Having difficulty keeping your balance if you exit the vehicle.
Once again, these symptoms do not automatically mean that you are intoxicated. Being sick or tired can affect your attentiveness and coordination, as well as make you cranky. The stress of being pulled over can cause you to behave in unusual ways, such as being defensive or making mistakes when instructed during a sobriety test. For this reason, DWI defense attorneys advise drivers to talk minimally and refuse field sobriety tests when stopped on suspicion of DWI.
Contact a San Antonio DWI Defense Lawyer
The prosecution will likely present the arresting police officer’s testimony about your appearance and behavior as evidence during your DWI case. A San Antonio DWI defense attorney at the Law Offices of Sam H. Lock can cast doubt on that evidence if you can explain your appearance and behavior. To schedule a free consultation, call 888-726-5625.