We Make Your Problem Our Problem

How do the police investigate drunk drivers? 

On Behalf of | Nov 1, 2023 | DUI/DWI

A driver who appears to be drunk may be pulled over by the police. Then, the police can investigate to gather evidence against the driver and prove that they are, in fact, inebriated.

What goes into the average drunk driving investigation? How do the commence? Here’s what you should know:

When an officer pulls you over, they’re watching (and judging) you

The police can use their observational skills to determine if a driver is drunk. Before a driver is pulled over, the police must have reasonable suspicion that the driver is committing a crime. Reasonable suspicion may include, for example, a driver swerving between lanes, weaving over the center line and speeding.

The police then look for probable cause to arrest the driver. Probable cause is trustworthy evidence to justify an arrest. For example, a driver who has an open bottle of alcohol in their car and is slurring their speech would give the police probable cause to believe they are inebriated.

The things you say can be additional clues or evidence that can be used

The police also use questions to try to elicit proof that a driver is impaired. Many people don’t realize that admitting to things like “only having a beer” is still admitting that they are drinking and driving. Officers are very good at using leading questions to get people to incriminate themselves.

The police can also use standardized field tests to judge sobriety

If questions don’t work, the police may ask drivers to perform physical examinations called field sobriety tests. Field sobriety tests can help the police spot signs of inebriation. A driver may, for example, be asked to stand on one leg, touch their nose or walk on a line for these tests.

Chemical testing can be used to establish blood alcohol content levels

Finally, a driver may be asked to take a chemical sobriety test. Drivers can be given blood and urine tests to evaluate the blood alcohol content (BAC) in their bodies. The most common and readily available test is a breath test.

It’s important to realize that drunk driving charges are very serious. If you have been charged, it’s wise to explore your legal options.