A police officer is trained and knows that the first way to establish a DUI is by trying to identify a driver who does not have control of their vehicle – this is done by looking for somebody who may be committing a traffic violation. A driver who is impaired from alcohol or drugs is more likely than sober drivers to take excessive risks such as speeding or turning abruptly. They also have slower reaction times to the things happening on the road.
There are statistics cited by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that show on average 1 in every 50 drivers on the road are driving while under the influence. The research suggests that late at night and weekend hours, the number can be 1 in every 10 drivers. The police are trained on this statistic and know to look for bad driving as the first clue that somebody may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs while driving.
These statistics mean that a substantial part of the population has committed this offense, which is why a DUI is a popular crime. The police are trained with three phrases to detect a DUI and they are looking for specific thing in each to help establish a DUI.
What are the Three Phases of detection for a DUI?
The first phrase is when the vehicle is in motion. This is an observation that occurs while you are driving the motor vehicle.
The second phrase is when they have personal contact with the driver. This after there has been a motor vehicle stop, you are pulled over and the police have an opportunity to have a face-to-face conversation with you.
The third phrase is the pre-arrest screening. This is when the police will administer Standard Field Sobriety Tests and potentially a preliminary breath test.
Throughout each of these phrases, the police are trying to obtain evidence that they are trained to look for to establish that you are impaired. All of this evidence will help later at a trial to potentially show you were impaired. This evidence is also used for probable cause purposes to arrest you and bring you to the police station to take a breathalyzer test at the police station or potentially a blood test.
Not all cases have the three phases of DUI detection. The police could get to a scene when they didn't get a chance to observe a person driving, for example, if there was a motor vehicle accident. In addition, a person could refuse to take the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests or a Preliminary Breath Test. This is what makes each case unique and based on the facts of what happened to determine if there is probable cause to arrest or if there is enough evidence to convict a person of being impaired while driving.