Probable Cause and DUIs: Things to Know

Some states refer drunk driving as Driving Under the Influence (DUI), others refer to it as Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) and a small number of states called it Operating Under the Influence (OUI). This criminal offense generally includes either driving under the influence of alcohol to the extent it impairs your physical and mental abilities, or driving while you have a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or greater regardless of whether the alcohol has had any effect on you. Such crimes are considered to be among the most serious of driving offenses—not surprisingly, as they cause over one third of all traffic fatalities. There are essentially three types of drunken driving laws: Driving under the influence:  Every one of the 50 U.S. states makes a DUI or DWI a crime.  DWIs and DUIs are usually defined as driving while impaired by alcohol or other legal or illegal substances. BAC of .08% or higher: In most states, if not all, it is also a crime to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, regardless of whether one’s driving was actually impaired or affected. Felony DUI: Certain cases of DUIs can be charged as a felony offense, a severe offense that could bring about a jail sentence. Probable Cause and DUI/DWI: 5 Things to Know In order to pull you over, a police officer is required to have “probable cause” that you’ve violated the law. Here are five things to know about probable cause and DUIs (driving under the influence): An officer needs probable cause to pull you over. Probable cause simply means that enough reliable information...

Field Sobriety Tests: A DUI Investigation Tool

Police often times utilize field sobriety tests (FST) in the course of DUI stops to gauge whether a driver is intoxicated or not. FST are roadside tests intended for assessing a driver’s mental and physical capacities. In principle, the impacts of alcohol will make an intoxicated driver perform more inefficiently on these tests than a sober driver. An officer’s choice of whether to arrest a suspect for driving impaired regularly relies upon how well the driver does on an FST. Three “Standardized” FSTs As per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) supported research, the following FSTs are precise pointers of when a driver has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least .08% or more: horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) walk and turn, and one-leg stand. These three tests are usually called the “standardized “FSTs or the FST “battery.” While directing a DUI inquiry, an officer may request that a suspect finish one, two, or all of the three of the standardized FSTs. In any case, the NHTSA’s examinations demonstrated that officers were more effective at recognizing impairments when they used every one of the three tests. Officers are required to learn and prepare how to give the standardized FSTs as per NHTSA regulations. At these training sessions, officers  take in the methodology for managing these tests and the “signs” of impairments to search for. FSTs are scored by the quantity of pieces of information the officer witnesses: a specific number of signs adds up to an unsuccessful test. For example, a driver comes up short the HGN test if the officer sees at least four signs. Despite the...