As with all other criminal offenses, prosecutors must be able to prove a DUI charge beyond a reasonable doubt. Thus, officers do want to be careful to collect as much evidence as possible at the time of a DUI arrest to assist prosecutors in meeting this high standard. In addition, police officers must have reasonable suspicion that a driver has been driving while intoxicated (or reasonable suspicion that some other legal violation has occurred) before stopping the car (unless the stop is during a valid checkpoint), and the officer must have probable cause that the driver did indeed drive while intoxicated in violation of state laws before an arrest can be made.
That said, what an officer thinks and/or claims is proper reasonable suspicion and probable cause may not be accurate when the matter comes into court, and an experienced defense attorney can push back on the following types of evidence that are presented by prosecutors pursuing a DUI conviction.
Erratic Driving and Accidents
Erratic driving is often the primary reason used by police officers for making a stop of a car. When an accident occurs, an officer will also stop and will often inquire as to whether a driver was intoxicated. Weaving, inability to stay in a lane, passing stop signs or red lights without stopping, too fast or too slow driving, and other illegal or abnormal driving patterns might be used against a driver in a DUI charge.
Disorientation, Unsteadiness, and Nervousness
Other evidence that an officer might gather during a stop is the driver’s response to the officer’s questions and the situation. When a person acts overly nervous, has inability to understand what the officer is asking, has trouble keeping balance, falls asleep or looks drowsy, or has difficulty keeping track of time (believing that only a minute has passed when 5 minutes have passed), these are all signs an officer might note for a prosecution.
Eye Movement and Glassiness
When police officers pull over a motorist for suspected drunk driving – or for any other reason, such as a broken taillight – they might examine the motorists’ eyes for signs of intoxication. Excess alcohol intake can cause a person’s pupils to be of different sizes. Also, glassiness of the eyes is a sign of drunkenness that can cause an officer to suspect DUI.
In addition, intoxication can make it difficult for a driver’s eyes to follow a visual target smoothly, and often includes involuntary, slightly jerky motions that police officers are trained to identify.
Inability to Follow Directions
Police will take note of a driver’s inability to follow directions, both in following directions related to the stop itself – such as being able to provide identification – and specific tests that the officer may be giving the driver, such as asking the driver to count backwards and/or walk in a specific manner.
When a driver has trouble following directions in presenting identification, answering questions, or completing tests, this may be presented as proof of the driver’s intoxication.
Fighting For Your Best Possible Outcome in Your CA DUI Case
If you have been placed under arrest for DUI in California, it is important to work with criminal defense attorneys who will fight for your rights. At the Law Offices of Omar Gastelum and Associates, PLC, our experienced criminal defense attorneys will work with you from the very start to reach a positive outcome: a dropped investigation, a dismissal of charges, a not guilty verdict, or minimal criminal penalties. Contact the Law Offices of Omar Gastelum and Associates, PLC today to get your best defense now.