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The human element of police officer DUI assessment

On Behalf of | Jul 8, 2024 | DUI/DWI

When you think about how police officers detect drunk driving, you probably envision someone trying and failing to walk a straight line. Standard field sobriety tests help police assess a driver for impairment, but that is not the only way officers detect impaired driving.

The police also watch for driving patterns that suggest impairment before they make a DUI stop, such as weaving or trouble with lane changes. However, it is the personal contact phase of a traffic stop that often leads to further investigation.

Beware of friendly conversation

A police officer may be courteous during a traffic stop, asking polite questions while you gather your license and registration. However, these conversations may be about more than setting you at ease.

Those friendly queries may be intended to judge your ability to multi-task or answer unexpected questions. Up-close interactions allow the police to detect cognitive impairment, along with slurred speech and alcohol odor.

If you have ever wondered why it is vital to exercise your right to silence, this is one good reason to do so — among many others.

Officer observations are subjective

What one officer interprets as signs of impairment, another might not. The nuances of human behavior are complex, and stress or nervousness can easily be mistaken for intoxication.

Questioning the officer’s training and experience in DUI assessments could improve your situation even if you failed standard tests. Investigating whether proper protocols were followed or whether external factors influenced officer judgment can strengthen your defense further.

A sound DUI defense considers all possibilities, including the human element of the assessment process. Having experienced legal guidance can help you determine if officers violated your rights during your interactions.