I’ve spoken to hundreds of people charged with driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Most people charged with DUI or OVI do not completely grasped that the arresting officer was building a case against them from second they observed their vehicle in motion. This blog post is part one of a three part series where I briefly discuss DUI Detection.
Trained police officers executing a traffic stop for suspicion of DUI begin to build the case against the subject immediately. A well trained police officer will look for indicators of drunk driving during three separate phases: (1) Vehicle in Motion; (2) Face to Observations & Interview with the Subject; and (3) Psychophysical Field Sobriety Testing.
During the Vehicle in Motion phase, the observing officer will look for (A) Problems Maintaining Lane Position; (B) Speed and Breaking Problems; (C) Vigilance Problems; and (D) Judgment Problems. For example, an officer will look for weaving, drifting, problems stopping, failure to signal, following too closely, and illegal turns. If you look at an officer’s police report you will likely find an officer using the exact language used above.
Once the officer activates his or her overhead lights, the officer will then observe the stopping sequence to see if the subject attempts to flee, makes no response, abruptly reacts, and/or suddenly stops his or her vehicle.
This completes Phase One of three of building their case against the subject. To read the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration Manuals check out: http://oag.dc.gov/page/sfst-training-manuals