Weaving in and out of a lane, driving too slowly, running a red light…these are all signs of drunk driving that Tampa police officers are on the lookout for. But what clues are they trained to recognize after they pull a driver over on suspicion of DUI? What actions and statements might increase your likelihood of being arrested and charged with DUI? Let’s take a deeper look at this.
After Florida police officers pull drivers over who they think are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they’ll be watching for specific types of behavior that are considered to be signs of intoxication. If they notice these, they are far more likely to ask that drivers perform field sobriety tests and roadside breath tests. Depending on performance on these tests, they may make an arrest.
10 Post-Stop DUI Clues
The following are 10 cues a law enforcement officer will look for after making a DUI stop:
- The driver has trouble with motor vehicle controls, like turning off the car.
- The driver fumbles with their license and registration after being asked to provide these items.
- The driver has trouble getting out of the vehicle.
- The driver repeats themselves.
- The driver has trouble balancing and may sway or act unsteady on their feet.
- The driver leans on the vehicle or another object.
- The driver’s speech is slurred.
- The driver is slow to respond to the officer, or the officer must repeat questions or instructions.
- The driver provides the wrong information to the officer or changes their answers.
- The driver smells of alcohol.
These so-called "signs of intoxication" can provide the foundation for a DUI arrest, but some of these can be attributed to something else. Nerves, uncomfortable or high-heeled shoes, poor lighting, or a physical disability could affect how a driver acts when pulled over by a police officer. That officer might notice the driver fumbling for his license, but this might only be because the driver is nervous. The officer might see that the driver can't get out of her vehicle easily, but it's only because she has on shoes with a three-inch heel. The officer might note that the driver cannot balance on his feet steadily, but that could be because it's dark outside and the flashing lights of the police vehicle are making it hard to see. Slurred speech could be caused by a lifelong stutter or even braces or aligners.
There are explanations for DUI cues and behavior that Tampa police officers might try to use against you when they make a DUI arrest. Don't forget that you have the right to hire an attorney to defend your rights and interests.
What You Can Do
When you’re suspected of drunk driving, everything that you do or say is under scrutiny. Even the way you pull over to the side of the road will be analyzed by the officer. The way you answer questions, the way you act, the way you smell—everything will be examined. The best thing you can do is follow the officer’s instructions calmly. Provide your name, driver’s license, and vehicle registration, but remember that you have the right to politely refuse to answer other questions. You also have the right to refuse field sobriety testing. Deciding to exercise these rights can help prevent the officer from getting more evidence or information that could be used against you later on.
Choose the Right Tampa DUI Law Firm
If you have been arrested for drunk driving or any crime, you must exercise your right to an attorney. The police are not on your side. They are trying to keep the roads safe, and if they’ve arrested you, they obviously believe that you violated the law. They will try to gather evidence against you to support the prosecuting attorney’s case. They will observe you for clues like those we discussed above.
Instead of making it easy for them to put you behind bars, involve a Tampa DUI law firm that has a track record of successfully defending drivers’ rights. At Thomas & Paulk, our criminal defense lawyers have achieved ideal results in thousands of cases. We know what to expect when it comes to DUI stops and the clues that police officers look for after they pull someone over. We know how to deal with an officer’s testimony about what they observed. We know how to win.
To find out more, call our Tampa DUI defense attorneys at (813) 321-7323. Your consultation is free.