Challenging A DUI        The Police Encounter      DUI Penalties        Impairment        Mistakes To Avoid

THE POLICE ENCOUNTER
If you smell like alcohol your chances of being arrested when you are pulled over are very high. Being arrested for a DUI does not automatically result in a conviction or loss of your driver’s license. Here are some things that you should know.

WHAT ARE THE POLICE LOOKING FOR IN YOUR DRIVING?
Lane straddling, wide turning radius, weaving, swerving, drifting, almost striking object or vehicle, driving on other than designated highway, speeding or below the limit, stopping without cause in traffic lane, following too closely, braking erratically, signaling inconsistent with driving actions, slow response to traffic signals, accelerating or decelerating rapidly, headlights not being used.

YOU ARE NOW PULLED OVER AND DETAINED: WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF INTOXICATION THE POLICE ARE LOOKING FOR?

  • • Odor of alcohol on breath
  • • Flushed face
  • • Red, watery, glassy and/or bloodshot eyes
  • • Slurred speech
  • • Fumbling with wallet trying to get license
  • • Failure to comprehend the officer’s questions
  • • Combative, argumentative, jovial or other “inappropriate” attitude
  • • Staggering when exiting vehicle
  • • Swaying/instability on feet
  • • Leaning on car for support
  • • Combative, argumentative, jovial or other “inappropriate” attitude
  • • Soiled, rumpled, disorderly clothing
  • • Stumbling while walking
  • • Disorientation as to time and place
  • • Inability to follow directions

You are not required to answer potentially incriminating questions. Politely refuse to answer any questions regarding the investigation without an attorney present. Invoke your absolute rights to remain silent and to have an attorney.

Let the officer know that you are aware that Field Sobriety Tests( FSTs) are completely voluntary. Do not agree to perform any of these tests. You have the right to decline and there is no sanction against you for doing so. If you perform the exercises you may be arrested anyway. This is not an objective test and the officer will use the results against you in court. Politely refuse to do the field sobriety exercises.

Although officers use a wide range of FSTs, there are only three federally-approved (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) “standardized” field sobriety tests. These consist of a battery of three tests:

  • • Heel-to-Toe (also referred to as “walk-and-turn”)
  • • One-Leg Stand
  • • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus

The HGN test is a relatively recent development in DUI investigations. The officer attempts to estimate the angle at which the eye begins to jerk (“nystagmus” is medical term for a distinctive eye oscillation); if this occurs sooner than 45 degrees, it theoretically indicates a blood-alcohol concentration over .05%. The smoothness of the eye’s tracking the penlight (or finger or pencil) is also a factor, as is the type of jerking when the eye is as far to the side as it can go. This test is not accepted by the medical community, however, it continues to be widely used by law enforcement.

Pre-Arrest – Preliminary Alcohol Screening – There are two types of breath tests. One is called a preliminary breath test. This is a portable on scene breath analyzer. This test is completely voluntary and you have the absolute right to refuse this type of breath test. There is no sanction against you for refusing to take this test, unlike the formal test at the station. You should refuse this test unless you are certain the result will be favorable.

Under the “implied consent law” you have a legal obligation to take a different chemical test. This is a breath or blood test. Breath machines are susceptible to a number of problems rendering them often unreliable. Each case depends on its particular facts when it comes to deciding if you should take this test or refuse. Always ask to speak to an attorney before deciding. There are consequences if you take the test and have a certain result, or if you refuse to take the test. They include license suspension and the fact of refusal may be introduced into evidence in Court. Further, there are enhanced criminal penalties for a refusal.

Some police officers record or video tape the driving, arrest, testing and/or booking process. Always be on your best behavior. Be polite and respectful to the police officers. This will go a long way in your defense and your release from custody.

After a DUI arrest, you must read the documents served on you. You must fill out the Request for Hearing that is on the back of the Order of Suspension, and follow the instructions within ten (10) days. This will prevent the license suspension from going into effect until the date of the hearing.

It is imperative that once arrested for a DUI, you immediately hire former prosecutor, John Adams

  • CALL: 410-268-2233, 301-870-0330, 301-932-4357, or 877-384-5997