Salisbury DUI Stops
Below, a Salisbury DUI lawyer discusses DUI stops including what law enforcement officers are looking for when pulling someone over and how police determine whether to administer a field sobriety test. For more information schedule a consultation with an attorney today.
Typical DUI Stop
The typical DUI in Salisbury is going to begin by the officer observing the car and looking to see if there are any violations of the traffic laws. If the officer observes the driver violating one or more laws of the traffic code, then the officer is going to turn on his lights and is going to get that car to stop.
It is important for the driver to understand that the officer’s investigations of the suspected DUI is going to begin from the second that that officer makes contact with the driver. The officer is going to be observing everything that the driver does and is going to be attempting to see if there is the odor of alcoholic beverage on the person’s breath. The officer is also going to be looking at the physical appearance of the driver for if the driver has blood shot eyes or their clothing seems to be rumpled or dirty. The officer is also going to be listening to the driver as the driver speaks.
The officer is listening to see if the driver’s speech is in any way slurred and is also going to be listening to see if the driver is making any unusual sort of out of context statements to the police officer, such as if the driver is using some sort of abusive language or seems to be exceptionally angry or perturbed.
From the second that that police officer makes contact with the driver, he is observing and taking notes about what he observes the driver doing. This is relevant because the officer has to be able to articulate a reasonable and legal basis to ask the driver to get out of the car and perform field sobriety tests.
All of those little indicators that the police officer is looking for those indicators are going to give him a basis to ask the driver to get out of the vehicle and perform the standardized field sobriety test.
What Law Enforcement is Looking For
The Salisbury officer is going to be observing how the driver is operating the car. This is because the officer has to have a legitimate basis to pull the car over. The officer cannot pull the car over simply because he has a hunch that the driver has been drinking. The officer has got to be able to articulate a reasonable lawful basis for pulling the car over. Accordingly, the officer is going to be observing a driver and watching to see if the driver violates the traffic law in anyway.
Examples of this are the driver crossing the center line and going into the opposing lane of traffic or failing to obey some other type of traffic control device such as a stop sign or a red light. The officer will be looking to see if the vehicle is weaving within its lane or if it’s crossing on to the shoulder. The officer is watching to see if the vehicle is speeding. It’s important for drivers to understand that even if you are only going a few miles over the speed limit, it still gives law enforcement a legal basis to pull you over. And then once the officer has the car pulled over, he’s willing to begin investigating for the possibility of the driver having consumed alcohol to the point where it is impacting the driver’s coordination.
Will The Officer Want To Search The Vehicle?
It is possible that the officer will want to search the vehicle because the officer could be looking for alcoholic beverage containers within the car. It is not uncommon in DUI cases for there to be an individual who is pulled over and they have alcohol in the car with them in the center console. An officer can testify if he sees empty cans of beers, full cans of beer and opened but still relatively full cans of beer. All of those observations can be used against the defendant at trial. So an officer definitely is going to want to be poking around in that car and looking to see if there are any alcoholic beverage containers within the car.